First of all a big thank you to Dan for organizing this event. Dan is an inspiration to anyone that knows him. His optimism and drive amaze me.
There is a massive need to fund research for Parkinson's disease and all neurological diseases generally. PD is associated with an economic burden of $50 billion every year including direct and indirect costs. NIH funding in 2018 for Parkinson's research was $193 million. This is a national disgrace. It makes me sick to my stomach.
Unfortunately, our government spends a trivial amount of money to find treatments or a cure because PD historically has been viewed as an "old person's disease." First, we should not simply accept PD as an unavoidable consequence of getting old. It is a disease (really group of diseases) that we can, and will find, a cure(s) for. Secondly, the facts are that it is not simply an old person's disease. There are many young people who work, raise families and maintain a "normal" life, all the while trying to keep their progression at bay. The psychological and emotional challenges of this young-onset cohort are incalculable.
PD and other neurological diseases have lagged far behind the progress made in other diseases like cancer and HIV. We still don't know what triggers the vast majority of Parkinson's cases. We have no disease modifying treatments to date. The best symptom modifying drug available was developed in 1969!
This is where the MJFF comes in. God bless Michael J Fox. He has raised the funding that has sorely been lacking for Parkinson's. But with drug trials costing hundreds of millions of dollars (if not $1 billion +) and taking over a decade to complete, big pharma is all too often wary of taking the risk. MJFF, is willing to take those well calculated risks and pave the road to future successes.
BUT MUCH MORE CAPITAL IS NEEDED FROM ALL SOURCES IF WE ARE TO DELIVER DISEASE MODIFYING TREATMENTS THAT WILL SLOW, STOP AND THEN REVERSE PARKINSON'S DISEASE.
Please help us raise money for the MJFF. Help us improve the lives of those with PD and create a future where none of our children will ever have to fear this scourge.
Thank you! - Matt