As we approach the end of the 2013/14 financial year, I’d like to share some of Shake It Up’s extraordinary achievements from the last 12 months as well as a few of our key plans for the future.
I am delighted to report that our Australian researchers, through their research proposals, continue to prove they are internationally competitive and at the cutting edge of global Parkinson’s research. In this financial year Shake It Up, through our valued partnership with The Michael J. Fox Foundation, has committed funding to six Australian research projects, taking our current research commitments to over $600,000. Our total commitment since establishment only a few years ago is now over $1 million. An amazing achievement. There are further research projects being assessed for approval right now and in the coming weeks, we will seek financial contributions to bring those projects to reality. In the meantime please read about our past and current projects.
We strongly believe that collaboration is critical in the quest for better treatments and a cure for Parkinson’s. Earlier this year we hosted our annual Parkinson’s research forum where some of the best and brightest minds in the field came together to share ideas in the interest of advancing all Parkinson’s research. It was a privilege to welcome Todd Sherer (CEO of The Michael J. Fox Foundation) to join the event by video link. This collaboration in the name of progress has not been seen before in Australia and we are very proud to be the driving force behind these important events.
Funding research and connecting the research community are central to our mission. And this year we have also connected the research community with the general public. Like many others affected by Parkinson’s, I appreciate how difficult it can be to find reliable and current information about Parkinson’s research. Which is why we take great care to share with you all the latest and most accurate Parkinson’s news. While this is typically done through our monthly newsletter we have taken the exciting step to host a series of webinars.
Our first webinar proved to be a huge success with people from around Australia and the globe tuning in to hear from internationally renowned neurologists Professor Dominic Rowe and Associate Professor Simon Lewis.
Communicating the impact of Parkinson’s to the wider community is vital if we are to generate the community and financial support to achieve a cure. To this end, our creative team and some deeply inspirational people have been working tirelessly on two special projects. First, our Behind the Shakes video series launched on World Parkinson’s Day with overwhelming support. You can watch the inspiring story of Monica here if you haven’t already. We look forward to sharing further stories with you as part of this series. Secondly, we have put together the first Shake It Up television commercial. The piece was produced and is airing almost entirely as a result of pro-bono support. You can see it currently on both pay and free to air TV and you can also watch it here.
Of course, while we drive fundraising, research and collaboration we are fortunate to have an army of supporters all over the country working alongside us by hosting and participating in events. From running marathons and movie nights to morning teas, art exhibitions and golf days. The volume and variety of events our supporters have undertaken to shake things up is extraordinary. You can get behind or get inspired by our supporters at the Heroes section of our website.
I continue to be humbled by the support our Foundation receives from the community and I sincerely thank you for being a part of our team. Of course our quest requires endurance. We still need funds to get to that cure. With the end of the financial year only days away I urge you to consider whether you have capacity to make a tax deductible donation today so that we can continue to fund the research necessary to achieve our mission.