UPMC East Board Chair Sean Logan believes the cure for Parkinson’s disease – a neurodegenerative condition with which he has recently been diagnosed – will come out of Pittsburgh.
“After a Parkinson’s diagnosis, one can pull back and feel sorry for themselves – or they can get motivated,” Logan said.
At age 47, he picked the latter and made it his life mission is to raise funds and awareness for research into Parkinson’s disease, which about 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with annually.
About one in four Pennsylvanians will suffer from a neurodegenerative disease in their lifetime, and nearly everyone will have a family member diagnosed with one of these conditions. This year marks the second annual Pittsburgh Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases 5K Run/Walk, which took place Monday.
PIND was established at the University of Pittsburgh and brings together in one place scientists and clinician-scientists from diverse disciplines and perspectives to collaborate on studies of neurodegenerative disorders including Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Huntington’s disease, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease.
“Everyone’s going to be touched by a neurodegenerative disease, even if it’s just remotely,” said Logan’s doctor, Dr. Amber Van Laar, UPMC neurologist and assistant professor of neurologist at the Pitt School of Medicine.
The complex disease is currently not well understood by scientists, and the goal of the race was to raise funds for PIND’s cutting-edge research.
Last year, the race had 417 participants and raised nearly $100,000. The funds help researchers quickly pursue new ideas without strings attached, and accumulate data needed to qualify for larger grants such as those given by the National Institutes of Health.
To donate, visit http://pind5k.org/.