Thursday, March 17, 2011

35 Years of Dedication

At the Foundation’s annual meeting last month, we recognized 35 years of dedication to achieving our goal of a cure for dystonia, 35 years of stimulating research, promoting awareness and providing support for dystonia-affected persons and their families. The meeting was productive and we look forward to announcing the grants we will be funding this year and to providing a report on the progress we have made over these past three decades toward achieving our goal.

Throughout the meeting I was struck with the dedication of every person there. The members of our Medical and Scientific Advisory Council, people who are incredibly busy, but who gave us their time to thoughtfully review and discuss the merits of the grant and fellowship applications. There were our recently funded investigators who presented on their research and then engaged in discussions regarding where best to direct research to advance our knowledge. The Foundation’s Board Members – people who work tirelessly to provide financial support and guidance so the DMRF can be there for those who turn to us for information, support and help. We were fortunate to have a number of guests, people who have made significant contributions to the field by reviewing grants through the Department of Defense Peer-Reviewed Medical Research Program or who have worked hard to create dystonia awareness and lead support groups. We were pleased to welcome Fiona Ross, the Chairman of the Board for the Dystonia Society in the UK – reflective of the communities desire to work collaboratively if we are to be successful in battling dystonia.

Many of these people have been there from the very beginning – and they reiterated that they are not going anywhere until we reach our goal of a cure. The anniversary provided the DMRF with the opportunity to acknowledge the extraordinary people who have been with us on this journey. People who have worked selflessly to help us end dystonia. We recognized these amazing individuals with the DMRF Distinguished Service Award.

It is my honor to announce that the DMRF Distinguished Service Award was given to the following people:

Stanley Fahn, MD - Mark Hallett, MD
Mahlon DeLong, MD - Xandra Breakefield, PhD
Laurie Ozelius, PhD - Susan Bressman, MD
Samuel Belzberg - Frances Belzberg
Dennis Kessler - Rosalie Lewis
Joseph Jankovic, MD - Claire Centrella

We thank each of these wonderfully dedicated people for their commitment to the DMRF and the dystonia community. The DMRF continues its work. Our commitment to the community remains steadfast. The DMRF is not going anywhere until we achieve our mission.