Winter Gala to Raise Funds for Parkinson’s Disease Research
In Oklahoma alone, over 15,000 people suffer from Parkinson’s Disease, a progressive neurologic disorder affecting movement by causing tremors, rigidity, slow movement and balance issues, but it also affects every other part of the body as well. It’s a debilitating disease, and currently there are no treatment options available to stop the progression, nor is there is there a cure.
Until 2013 when Norman ob/gyn Nicole Jarvis formed the Nicole Jarvis MD Parkinson’s Research Foundation Inc., there wasn’t a single organization in the state dedicated to researching new treatment options and finding a cure.
As a physician, Jarvis always knew the importance of looking into new forms of research and treatment of this and other conditions. As a patient with Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease, she has a personal stake in supporting such advancements for herself–and those with whom she has formed lifelong bonds during her service on the Board of the Parkinson Foundation of Oklahoma and as the founder and leader of the support group for YOPD patients.
Jarvis is one of 25 members of the prestigious Patient Council for the Michael J. Fox Foundation. She also hosts a yearly Team Fox event, a grassroots community fundraising program to support the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
In December 2012, she hosted a Winter Gala fundraiser, attended by more than 300 members of the medical and business communities. The gala raised over $115,000.
Buoyed by the success of this event and community support, in January 2013 she formed the Nicole Jarvis MD Parkinson’s Research Foundation Inc. Its three-prong mission, according to Jarvis, is to:
• “Raise awareness of Parkinson’s Disease in the State of Oklahoma,
• Help fund services offered throughout Oklahoma for patients with Parkinson’s Disease
• Donate funds to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research on projects leading to improved treatment options and ultimately a cure for this chronic, debilitating, degenerative neurologic disease that affects me and 15,000 Oklahoman’s and our families, friends, and employers on a daily basis.”
The Winter Gala, now an annual event, has surpassed each previous year in both attendance and money earned. Since beginning in 2012, Jarvis’s Foundation has been one of the top 10 fundraisers for Team Fox, and Jarvis has been invited each year to attend an awards dinner hosted by Fox. To date, her organization has raised over $750,000 in support of the Michael J. Fox Foundation, with $50,000 supporting the Parkinson Foundation of Oklahoma.
The Fifth Annual Winter Gala, set for Thursday, Dec. 8, features a social hour with silent and live auction, dinner and inspirational speakers. This year’s featured speaker is Bret Parker, executive director of the New York City Bar Association, who also has YOPD. Parker’s an avid advocate for PD patients and PD research. He has organized a popular Facebook group for those facing YOPD and has hundreds of patients join in discussions. He’s active in fundraising and has helped raise over $240,000 for Team Fox through various activities.
Corporate sponsors continue to be sought for the 2016 gala. A variety of sponsorship packages are available. General tickets may be purchased for $125.
Another way to donate is by providing an item, good or service for the auction. The gift’s origins and the company’s generosity will be acknowledged. A form for the auction’s contribution is available online at jarvismdparkinsonsfoundation.org/sponsorship-opportunities/
In 2015, over 100 business sponsors and more than 80 donors contributed to the silent and live auctions.
To become a sponsor, call 701.2424 and ask for Jarvis or Emily Holland, or email email@example.com.
The 2016 Winter Gala will be held at the Embassy Suites and Conference Center of Norman. For reservations, call 1.866.577.1273 and provide the group code of PRK.
Donations will continue to be accepted until Dec. 31, and they continue to look for new businesses to join them as sponsors for 2017.
“I can’t change the fact that I have Parkinson’s Disease, but I can do anything and everything in my power every day to contribute to helping patients with PD lead the best life they can, and I will continue to raise every dollar that I can to fund the research that will ultimately lead to the cure we so desperately need,” Jarvis said. “I wouldn’t be able to do this without the support of the community and people all across the state, and I truly believe that together, we CAN find the cure.”