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Jim Causley Buick

Anniversary recognized with walkathon


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May 23, 2013
The Michigan Parkinson Foundation observes its 30th anniversary with a walkathon and 5K run at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 1, at South Lake High School, 23101 Stadium, St. Clair Shores.

To register, visit parkin sonsmi.org. On-site registration is from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Participants walk on the track or run through the adjacent neighborhoods on a marked route. Strollers, wheelchairs, children and dogs are welcome.

The foundation's idea began with Raymond B. Bauer as chief of neurology at Harper Hospital. He had conducted drug studies on the medication Sinemet in the 1960s the drug is still used today by Parkinson's patients.

Clinical nurse specialist Doreen Coggan and social worker Jackie Stewart worked with Bauer, who died in 1988, and in his honor created an educational program for those seeking answers to questions about Parkinson's. The sixweek educational series provided a comprehensive look at what the disease is, its management and coping with the chronic illness.

Suffering from multiple myeloma, Bauer lived seven years following his diagnosis with multiple myeloma. During that time he lectured and supported newly formed support groups. He also dressed up as singersongwriter Willie Nelson, playing a guitar to the tune of "Learning How to Smile," a song that had been written for those with Parkinson's Disease.

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Early leaders

The foundation, founded in 1983, focuses on helping patients, families and friends affl icted with Parkinson's to sustain a high quality of life.

Honorary chairmen and women of the 2013 event are:

Founding president, the late Raymond B. Bauer, who is represented by his children, Cindy Bauer Gauss, Gwen Bauer Stiles, Raymond T. and Larry Bauer;

Tom Cracchiolo of Grosse Pointe Shores the foundation's founding chairman;

John Boll, a board chairman;

Betty Rusnack, who established the Eastside Support Group, the first of its kind and Ruth Butler, facilitator of the Livonia/Wester Wayne Support group, and one of the fi rst volunteers, a nurse educator and caregiver to her husband who suffered from Parkinson's for 40 years.

Under Cracchiolo's foundation leadership, he worked with Bauer to create its board, spearheaded the development of the structure of Michigan Parkinson Foundation to insure its financial and resource support, found offices for the staff and advocates for the support groups.

Boll has been credited paving the way for MPF to be able to create innovative services to help people with Parkinson's including a resource center with a nurse counselor, neurologist referral system. He also established a library of PD information and the Raymond B. Bauer M.D. Research Award, designed as a competitive grant to fund students working with health researchers to investigate aspects of the disease.

Also on the original board were Ken Meade, who served as chairman from 1989 to 1991; Herb Steiger; Jesse Cardellio; Mike Timmis; and Art Van Elslander.

Rusnack is a retired Wayne State University professor of social work and a facilitator.

Butler is also a support group facilitator and honorary chairwoman of the walk and run taking place at Northville High School. She is a nurse educator and an advocate for families and patients of PD, speaker and children's book author.

To learn more about the foundation and its mission, a televised interview with Cracchiolo can be seen at 5:30 a.m., 2:30 and 6 p.m. May 27 through June 2 on Comcast channels 5 and 915, AT&T channel 99 and WOW channel 10.

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