For the first time, this year’s meeting for people with Parkinson’s, was held online and focussed on the origins and development of Parkinson’s, including triggers, early symptoms and stages of the disease. 

From 24 -25 September, Cure Parkinson’s and Van Andel Institute (VAI) were thrilled to once again host Rallying to the Challenge, a meeting designed for and by people with Parkinson’s, advocates and care partners that explores how the Parkinson’s community can impact and accelerate research. The meeting ran in parallel with VAI’s flagship annual Parkinson’s disease symposium Grand Challenges in Parkinson’s Disease. 

The theme for 2020 was ‘When and How Does Parkinson’s Begin?’ The meeting included stimulating discussions such as ‘What are the genetic risk factors for Parkinson’s?’ with advocate Ben Stecher and Dr Ziv Gan-Or; ‘Viruses and Parkinson’s’ with Dr David Beckham (Assoc. Professor University of Colorado) and Chris Maycock; ‘What role might the gut play in Parkinson’s?’ with Dietician Richelle Flanagan and Per Borghammer (Assoc. Professor, Aarhus University Hospital) and expert insights from Professor Tom Foltynie and Dr Dilan Athauda during their discussion on ‘Does insulin resistance/type 2 Diabetes make a difference?’ If you were unable to attend the meeting, the live recordings of both days are available to view below.

Rallying Day One Live Sessions 


4:07 – Team Spark: When and How does Parkinson’s start- the lived experience?

26:20 – When and How does Parkinson’s start: an overview: Dr Simon Stott

1:01.50 – What are the genetic Risk Factors for Parkinson’s? Ben Stecher with Dr Ziv Gan Or

2:02.40 – Environmental factors and Parkinson’s: Dr Alison Bernstein

2:28:25 – Viruses and Parkinson’s: Dr David Beckham with Chris Maycock

2:55:12 – Live Q&A panel: Gary Rafaloff, Drs Soania Mathur, Cornelis Blauwendraat, Patrik Brundin and Camille Carroll

3:25:50 – iLCT Studies – The Journey Towards Personalised Parkinson’s Therapeutics: Dr Richard Wyse

3:57:07 – Closing remarks: Shaun Hindley, Team Spark and Helen Matthews

Rallying Day Two Live Sessions


1:50 – In memory of Dr Viviane Labrie (Dr Patrick Brundin).

What role might the gut play in Parkinson’s: Richelle Flanaghan with Drs Viviane Labrie and Per Borghammer

1:07.40 – Does insulin resistance/diabetes make a difference? Rachel Gibson with Drs Tom Foltynie and Dilan Athauda

1:32:50 – Live Q&A panel: Kevin Mcfarthing, Richelle Flanaghan, Drs Wouter Peelarts and Per Borghammer

2:05:10 – From Anecdotes to Answers: How to Turn the patient Experience into Useful Data: Dr Laurie Mischley

2:27:27 – PD Avengers: Larry Gifford. Tim Hague, Matt Eagles, Sally Brompton, Hugh Johnson, Gary Shaunessy, Jayne Calder and Omotola Thomas

3:26:35 – Live Q&A panel: Drs Patrik Brundin Carlie Tanner and Soania Mathur

3:34:13 – Presentation of the Tom Isaacs Award by Dr Patrik Brundin and Lyndsey Isaacs

Alternatively, if you wish to view individual presentations from the meeting, all the presentations from Rallying to the Challenge can be found below. 

Presentations – DAY 1 

Presentations – DAY 2 

As always, one of the highlights of this meeting is the presentation of the Tom Isaacs Award. The award recognises a researcher who has shown great impact on the lives of people living with Parkinson’s and has involved people with Parkinson’s in a participatory way in their work. CPT and VAI are delighted to announce that this year’s recipient is Professor Caroline Tanner.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to and joined us for this virtual meeting. Each year, patient experiences inform the Rallying to the Challenge meeting, they are a key component of the discussions and we’d like to hear from you with your feedback! Keep up to date with the latest discussions and join in the conversation with advocates and PwP’s by joining our Facebook ‘Rallying to the Challenge’ group.

There has been a huge amount of work behind the scenes to ensure that this year’s virtual meeting ran smoothly. Production of the presentations for the event took place in the weeks leading up to Rallying to the Challenge and we would like to thank Cure Parkinson’s advocate Eros Bresolin for all his work in masterminding and producing the technical materials for this virtual meeting.

How helpful was this content?

/ 5. Vote count:

We are sorry that this content was not useful for you

Let us improve this content

Can you tell us how we can improve this content?