WASHINGTON, DC: This week, Congresswoman Jen Kiggans (VA-02) and Representative Jennifer Wexton (VA-10) and Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Rick Scott (R-FL) introduced a bipartisan, bicameral resolution that would designate April as “Parkinson’s Awareness Month.” Wexton announced on World Parkinson’s Day earlier this month that she has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.
“As a geriatric nurse practitioner, I have cared for many patients with Parkinson’s disease,” said Congresswoman Kiggans. “I know first-hand how challenging these diagnoses can be. I also know how resilient and strong those patients are. I’m proud to support the nearly 90,000 Americans who are diagnosed with Parkinson’s each year, including my colleague Congresswoman Wexton. I’m proud to partner with her to ensure we continue to have breakthroughs that allow Americans with Parkinson’s disease to live full lives. Much progress has been made, but there is more work to be done. I’m hopeful that by raising awareness and supporting research, we can one day find a cure.”
“Parkinson’s is not a death sentence, and thanks to breakthrough medical treatments, millions of Americans are living full, active lives with their PD – including me,” said Rep. Wexton. “There’s more work to do to improve our ability to diagnose, treat, and ultimately cure Parkinson’s, and I’m proud to work in a bipartisan way with my colleagues to deliver that support from Congress. I’ll continue to be a champion for the PD community and uplift our voices as we fight to defeat this condition.”
“So many American families are living with the effects of Parkinson’s disease. Our resolution affirms Congress’ support of these families and commitment to research to find more effective treatments, better care and ultimately, a cure,” said Senator Stabenow.
“With the latest discovery of the first-ever Parkinson’s disease biomarker, it’s critical that the public and private sectors work together to accelerate work to prevent and cure Parkinson’s,” said Ted Thompson, senior vice president of policy for The Michael J. Fox Foundation. “For people and families living with the disease, Parkinson’s Awareness Month lasts all year long, and we encourage all members of Congress to support the National Plan to End Parkinson’s so we can end this disease once and for all.”
Parkinson’s is the second most common neurodegenerative disease in the world, and nearly 90,000 Americans are diagnosed each year. Parkinson’s is considered a movement disorder because it can cause tremors, slowness, stiffness, and challenges with walking, balance, and speaking. Symptoms often vary from person to person, and they slowly worsen over time. Treatments and therapies exist to help those living with Parkinson’s manage their symptoms, but there are no blood or laboratory tests to diagnose Parkinson’s, nor is there currently a cure.
In a recent breakthrough study announced earlier this month which was supported by the Michael J. Fox Foundation, researchers discovered a new tool that can identify a “biomarker” – a key protein found in cells of people with Parkinson’s – which can help better directly diagnose Parkinson’s disease.
The National Plan to End Parkinson’s Act, introduced in Congress last month with bipartisan support, would bring together the whole of government and private industry to increase federal funding for research, develop new pathways for early diagnosis, treatments, and cures, and establish measures to help prevent Parkinson’s while boosting public awareness.
The full text of the resolution can be found here.