At Sunday's game against the Chiefs, the Saints recognized the Parkinson's Disease Foundation as the game's community partner. The recognition comes on the heels of the NFL's $30 million donation to the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health to support brain research studying conditions that include Parkinson's disease.
"There are nearly one million Americans living with Parkinson's disease, so the opportunity of having our organization's logo on the tickets and being recognized pre-game is important to raise awareness," said Melissa Barry, Communications Manager for the Parkinson's Disease Foundation. "Everyone can make a difference in the fight against Parkinson's. Right now, there's no cure for Parkinson's and there are no medications that can reverse the disease, but we really believe we can make a difference in advancing research by pairing up with people with Parkinson's, such as those here in Louisiana."
Barry was joined by Carol Harrison and Sister Mary Daniel, both Louisiana residents who are living with Parkinson's.
"It's certainly an honor to be here," Harrison said. "An opportunity to have information about Parkinson's reach so many people, even if for just a few seconds, will hopefully create more awareness about the disease and the work of the Parkinson's Disease Foundation."
Harrison, who lives in Baton Rouge and was diagnosed in 2003, feels like awareness is the most important way to begin to make progress in the fight against Parkinson's disease.
"Having Parkinson's, I really try and do whatever I can to reach more people and to make them more aware about the disease," she said. "Also, I really encourage people to support research that will help make progress towards curing Parkinson's."
Sister Mary Daniel, who lives in New Orleans, also believes in the positive effect that awareness will have on progress, but believes she's seen a change since she was diagnosed in 2003.
"I've seen awareness grow through organizations like PDF, that host educational events and offer workshops for people," said Daniel. "Participating in the events that advocate for Parkinson's and participating in clinical trials is important for us to help others and make more people aware of the disease. If we don't do these things, we won't be recognized by the National Institutes of Health and we'll never find a cure for Parkinson's."
The Parkinson's Disease Foundation recently announced $1.35 million in research grants for 13 projects designed to find the cause(s) of and a cure for Parkinson's disease. The projects will look at the science of Parkinson's disease and its symptoms from new angles.
In addition to the grants awarded, the organization announced that it will host a series of free webinars online at www.pdf.org. The webinars are designed for people living with Parkinson's disease, care partners, family members and health care professionals, and will be available online or by phone. The next one is scheduled for Nov. 20. For more information, visit www.pdf.org/parkinsononline.