In 2014, former President of The Cure Parkinson's Trust (CPT), Tom Isaacs, called Professor Patrik Brundin at the Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) in Michigan and suggested that it would be a good idea to host a small think tank of people with Parkinson’s in parallel with and linked to the annual Grand Challenges meeting in Grand Rapids, Michigan - Tom suggested that this meeting be called ‘Rallying to the Challenge’ with the specific focus being on identifying ways people with Parkinson’s could best contribute and become involved with research. 

Co-hosted with and by VARI and CPT/Parkinson's Movement(PM), the annual meeting in September is led by people with Parkinson’s (PwP’s) and now attracts around 100 delegates. Each year the meeting takes an aspect of Parkinson's research and explores how PwP’s can support and influence work in this area. Themes have varied from identifying the barriers to successful clinical trials (which resulted in the creation of the Clinical Trials Charter) to 'outcome measurement' and 'the power of data'. This year's meeting will focus on non motor symptoms and will touch on describing and evaluating fatigue as well as sleep, the benefits of exercise and the psychological impact of non-motor symptoms on individuals and their partners and family. Helen Matthews, Deputy CEO of CPT said: 

“Rallying is an inspirational meeting of people with Parkinson’s with a vision to support and inform research.  Rallying underpins CPT and PM's shared ethos of teamwork – involving all aspects of the Parkinson’s community to support the essential research needed to ultimately find a cure.  Now in its fifth year, this meeting is informative, energetic, positive, impactful and great fun.” 

Get involved

Tune into a live panel discussion broadcast from this year's Rallying to the Challenge meeting on September 27 at 17.15 BST. The panel will include Prof. Patrik Brundin, Prof. Ray Chaudhuri, Dr. Viviane Labrie and Dr. Jon Stamford, and moderating the discussion will be Kayla Habermehl.

As well as opening the floor to questions from the audience, the group will be discussing the theme of this year’s symposium – 'Non motor symptoms in Parkinson’s' touching on areas such as sleep, issues with the nose and the relationship of the gut to Parkinson’s, with perspectives from PwP’s and researchers on the panel. The discussion will also include advice on how PwP’s can keep up to date with new research or become more involved in patient advocacy.

To tune into the live chat, please visit Grand Challenges in Parkinson's Disease Facebook page.

Catch up with Rallying 2018

Thank you to everyone who took part in the Rallying survey, which this year focused on the impact of Parkinson’s on quality of life. To hear feedback from the survey, as well as the latest from this year’s Rallying meetings in Grand Rapids, tune into the CPT/PM webinar, which is being broadcast live on November 1 from Bentley’s, London from 15:00 BST (10:00 EST).

Click here to find out more.