Support Research

Can you imagine a world without the suffering caused by Parkinson’s? Here is an opportunity to ease the load of people with Parkinson’s and their carers.

Make a donation

As you’ll be aware, everyone faces Parkinson’s in their own way. Their hopes, needs and issues are unique to them. And no wonder, when this chronic, progressive neurological disorder has over 50 symptoms – going well beyond tremors, rigidity, slowed movements, and balance problems.

Still, the same question continually pops up in the conversations our Parkinson’s Nurses have, as they meet and help people through the countless difficulties that Parkinson’s brings:

“Is there a cure?”

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our nurses could gladly say “YES” to that heartfelt plea? Right now, unfortunately, they can’t. But I believe – and perhaps you feel the same – that the time has come to pull out all stops to try and change that.

“People I see always ask me about a cure – it’s something they really want and dream of.” – Nina, Parkinson’s Nurse

With Parkinson’s prevalence increasing at a rate of around 2-3% a year, I want to increase the funding we give to Parkinson’s researchers to $310,000 this year, which would support eight research projects. If you’d like to be part of the next breakthrough in Parkinson’s knowledge and care, please will you make a donation to help?

Your gift would support work like Ben Trist’s. Ben is 24 years old and our proud 2016 Young
Researcher of the Year. He’s also a passionate and energetic member of a team that gratefully
received a research grant thanks to great people like you. 

Ben has been exploring the importance of a protein found in the brain in people developing
Parkinson’s, driven by a personal interest because his grandfather had it. What he’s found shows
incredible promise.

For the first time, he and the team have linked changes in a protein called ‘superoxide dismutase 1’, with the brain cell death in Parkinson’s that stops people from initiating movement and coordinating it.
This protein usually protects the brain. “But we found it was abnormally clumping together in and around dying cells in the Parkinson’s brain,” says Ben. Now he is looking into whether this process contributes to people getting Parkinson’s.

Since the protein clumps lacked copper, Ben is also investigating the specific role this plays in the decline people have with Parkinson’s. His ultimate hope is that existing medicines containing copper could potentially be a new, more effective therapy.

“My hope is that they’ll find a less intrusive treatment than brain surgery, by the time my medication stops working for me.” – Gavin, Parkinson’s patient

With results this promising, you can see how important it is that research like Ben’s has a chance to get started – and continue. 

But with government funding so hard to secure, many projects would just fall by the wayside without community support. Particularly if researchers are in the early stages of their careers and don’t have a body of work behind them.

They could simply walk away from the challenge. Yet any one of them could be destined to break new ground in how we understand Parkinson’s, and treat and care for the people who have it.

Your generosity would help provide an avenue for them to look into the disease. Into how it develops. Into ways, it could be slowed, stopped or avoided. Into technology, devices and drug
treatments. And improvements in care or lifestyle changes such as exercising to stay well for longer.

Every piece of information Parkinson’s researchers find is another piece in the puzzle – slowly but surely creating a complete picture that brings us closer to better treatments, better care and one day a cure.

Ben in his mum Helga’s arms with his grandfather and twin, Daniel.

I won’t pretend to you that success will come easily. To achieve progress will take enormous talent and a lot of time and money. Ben and the other researchers who seek grants from us certainly have the talent … in spades! And they have the time – if only you can help us provide the money.

So please donate to assist with this if you can. Today let’s champion the research that will change people’s lives tomorrow. 

Yours sincerely,
Jo-Anne Reeves
Chief Executive Officer