|On January 5th of 2009 my mother, Joan Dugan, lost her battle with Dystonia and Parkinson’s disease after more than 11 years of painful struggle.|
|Once a public speaker, victims’ rights advocate, and counselor to domestic abuse victims, my mother was stripped of her ability to walk, speak, or perform any of the essential acts of daily living. She endured multiple brain surgeries, years of physical therapy, dozens of medications and treatments, and more. Eventually, the complications stemming from Dystonia/Parkinson’s ended her life at the young age of 61. She was the mother of two, grandmother of one, counselor to hundreds, and a living example of strength, courage, compassion, and humanity seldom seen. Throughout the duration of her illness, Joan never complained, never asked ‘why me?’ And she never stopped fighting. In her honor and in an effort to help more than one million Americans like her, we continue to fight.
Our family has formed the Joan Elizabeth Foundation to raise funds that will be donated directly to the world’s leading physicians and researchers, specializing in the treatments for Parkinson’s and Dystonia. The research being done is aimed at developing more effective treatments for the debilitating symptoms of both disorders, and ultimately, an outright cure. Dystonia is a neurological muscle disorder that causes uncontrollable, painful spasms in one or more parts of the body. While not widely known, Dystonia affects an estimated 500,000 people in North America alone. Different forms of the disease affect the face, neck, throat, eyelids, arms, legs or torso. This devastating disease can appear in children and adults alike. Parkinson's disease is a disorder of the central nervous system, which affects more than one million Americans. It affects the area of the brain that regulates movement and muscles, and is characterized by gradual, progressive muscle rigidity, tremors and clumsiness. In many cases, patients lose the ability to walk, speak, feed and clothe themselves, etc. Parkinson's is a chronic condition that may appear at any age, but it is most common in people over 50, and rare in those under 30. Through your support, and tireless effort and dedication, we intend to raise awareness, and pursue our primary objective, until we are successful. Our gratitude for your selflessness and commitment to help us cannot be measured or accurately expressed in words.
Sincerely, Brian Dugan
President – The Joan Elizabeth Foundation, Inc.