Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Founding a Foundation

“Run-the-World 4 Parkinson’s Disease” began as a physical challenge that would allow me to pursue my two favorite hobbies, sports and travel.  Shortly thereafter, the concept of a fund-raising campaign started to take hold.  To raise funds for Parkinson’s Disease research, “Run-the-World” was linked to Team Fox.  Through this association, “Run-the-World” has begun raising money for the Michael J Fox Foundation and it’s hoped that we will continue to make a significant contribution. 

In addition to donating to Parkinson’s Disease research, others expressed a desire to more directly assist those affected by Parkinson’s Disease today.  It was in response to these requests that the 444 Parkinson’s Foundation was established.  With the name based on my 444 theme (diagnosed at age 44 and 4th year since diagnosis), the foundation has come together over the past few months. The board of directors has been assembled with a broad background of experience including law, medicine, travel writing and public administration.  Administrative tasks, such as creation of bylaws, incorporation with the state and applying for tax exempt status with the IRS have been accomplished. The initial goals of the foundation have taken shape, as well.

As life expectancy around the world is extended there is an increasing demand to care for those affected by chronic diseases, especially disorders seen predominantly in the elderly like Parkinson’s Disease.  Many ventures are in place to raise awareness of the needs of those with Parkinson’s Disease.  It is our desire that 444 Parkinson’s Foundation can add to these efforts.  Through the connection with “Run-the-World”, 444 Parkinson’s Foundation plans to raise money to bring those with Parkinson’s Disease from around the world to the next World Parkinson Congress, which will be held in 2016 in Portland, Oregon. The World Parkinson Congress brings together physicians, researchers and patients and provides the perfect forum for all three groups to share thoughts.  It is hoped that 444 Parkinson’s Foundation can help add even further diversity to the attendees of the World Parkinson Congress and provide additional insight into the needs of those affected by Parkinson’s Disease worldwide.

Thus, the formation of 444 Parkinson’s Foundation has allowed me to add a third goal for “Run-the-World”:
  1. Overcome a personal challenge to demonstrate what can be accomplished by those with Parkinson’s Disease, including physical activities, travel and military service.
  2. Provide an opportunity for those who want to help fund Parkinson’s Disease research to contribution to the Michael J. Fox Foundation
  3. Help tell the story of those affected by Parkinson’s Disease around the world through social media and funding travel expenses for those with Parkinson’s Disease to attend the World Parkinson Congress in Portland, Oregon in 2016 to tell their stories of living with Parkinson’s Disease worldwide.

This week the 444 Parkinson’s Foundation takes another step forward as we launch the Foundation website.  The site offers a simple method to submit donations, an opportunity to communicate with the Foundation and will provide periodic progress updates on the Foundation’s activities.  Thanks to all who have shown interest and support leading to the establishment of the 444 Parkinson’s Foundation and thanks to all that support our future endeavors.