The Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) in Grand Rapids, Michigan annually hosts its scientific conference 'Grand Challenges in Parkinson’s'. Running in parallel with this is an inspiring Parkinson’s research meeting called ‘Rallying to the Challenge’ with the specific focus on identifying ways people with Parkinson’s can best contribute and become involved with research. Originally conceived by the late Tom Isaacs, the 'Rallying' meeting is run by people living 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 focused on non motor symptoms touching 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.” 

Rallying to the Challenge Facebook Live

Re-watch the Rallying to the Challenge Facebook Live panel discussion broadcast from this year's meeting at VARI with panellists Prof. Patrik Brundin, Prof. Ray Chaudhuri, Dr. Viviane Labrie and Dr. Jon Stamford 

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

See More of Rallying 2018

Thank you to everyone who took part in the Rallying survey. 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 will be broadcast live on November 1 from Bentley’s, London from 15:00 BST (10:00 EST). Further information coming soon. Find out more here...

Rallying to the Challenge 2018