200 years closer to unlocking Parkinson’s disease


Joyce Gordon, CEO, Parkinson Canada

A message from Joyce Gordon, CEO, Parkinson Canada

It’s been 200 years since English physician James Parkinson first described the brain disease named after him in An Essay on the Shaking Palsy. Since 1817, major advances have been made in Parkinson’s research, including the development of various drug and other therapies to treat disease symptoms. And yet we still do not know precisely what causes Parkinson’s disease, and there is no cure.

For the 200th anniversary of Dr. Parkinson’s essay, and in conjunction with World Parkinson’s Day on April 11, we are proud to join international Parkinson community to #UniteForParkinsons. This global campaign will increase awareness and show our support for those living with the disease.  It aims to inspire new research and treatment initiatives also.

Parkinson families and friends cannot wait another 200 years for a cure. We hear you loud and clear. Research into this complex and life-altering disease is exploding and we must keep up the momentum for a cure. We are proud of the contributions the researchers we fund through the Parkinson Canada Research Program are making every day. Each discovery is critical in that, no matter how small, it brings us closer to the breakthroughs we dream about. Take a moment to read about some of these projects.

Throughout April, Parkinson Awareness Month, Parkinson Canada staff and volunteers host additional fundraising, education and awareness events, reaching out to you and other Canadians living with Parkinson’s. We are in malls and community centres, libraries and church halls, in communities across Canada. While some of these events have already taken place, I encourage you to take a moment to visit the interactive map on our website for local event listings. There may still be activities in your town that you can attend.  And don’t forget to check out the schedule of virtual events, too.

Next week, April 23 to 29, is National Volunteer Week. On behalf of everyone at Parkinson Canada, as well as those we serve, I wish to express our extreme gratitude to each and every one of our hundreds of volunteers, many of whom are people living with Parkinson’s and their family members.  Often, support groups and awareness initiatives are organized and implemented by volunteers. Others participate in and help organize fundraising events, especially our largest fundraiser Parkinson SuperWalk. Some volunteers sell tulips and some work at information booths at health fairs and mall displays. Many volunteers undertake several of these different roles. More than 100 volunteers serve as Parkinson Ambassadors, advocating to governments for changes that meet the needs of the Parkinson community. You are our everyday heroes, and we thank you.

UniteForParkinsons logo

#UniteForParkinsons logo

We are also incredibly fortunate and grateful to receive the services of many highly qualified volunteer experts coast to coast. These individuals lend their time and expertise to shape our future and drive our mission forward. Please join me in acknowledging the contributions of members of our Medical Advisory Committee, Scientific Advisory Board, Research Policy Committee and our Board of Directors. With them, we are able to produce unique resources like the Canadian Guidelines on Parkinson’s Disease and invest in life-changing research to improve quality of life.

This April and beyond, no matter where your Parkinson’s journey leads you, we are a phone call, an email or a computer click away. You can find information, support and resources at www.parkinson.ca or by calling the Parkinson Canada Information and Referral Service at 1-800- 565-3000. I invite you to take the time to reach out and tell us how we have helped you, and how we can better serve your needs. Or simply send a message to communications@parkinson.ca and tell us how you’re living well with Parkinson’s. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we are able to be here for you, as one united organization offering help and hope at every step along the way.

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