Night For A Cure, held Sunday night at Fasig-Tipton in Lexington, Kentucky, to benefit the Ann Hanley Parkinson's Research Fund, raised almost $300,000 to fund research into the disease at the University of Kentucky.
Hanley, the wife of WinStar's General Manager David Hanley, was diagnosed with Parkinson's at the age of 50 and is currently working with a research team led by Dr. Greg Gerhardt and Dr. Craig Van Horne at UK. The research team has made substantial progress in developing a new surgical technique to drastically reduce the symptoms of Parkinson's disease through procedures that include deep brain stimulation and nerve grafts.
Recognizing the challenge of adequate funding for such research, Hanley established the fund in 2015 to ensure that the groundbreaking work being conducted by Dr. Gerhardt, Dr. Van Horne and their team could continue.
Fasig-Tipton, Coolmore and WinStar teamed up to host the party to raise money for that research.
“This partnership between the Thoroughbred industry and the Brain Restoration center at UK is already having a profound effect on our community,” Mrs. Hanley said. “It has brought attention to our cause and allowed us to raise funds which will ultimately speed us on our way to a better treatment course and possible cure for this devastating and incurable disease. The research conducted at UK doesn't require any drug trial, therefore no funding available.
She continued, “In a unique and different approach Dr. Van Horne utilizes the body's own repair system by grafting a piece of the peripheral nerve into an area of the brain during Deep Brain Stimulation surgery. The patient is the only beneficiary, there is no a financial reward for anybody, hence the difficulty in funding. This kind of research science can take years and lifetimes. Patients, myself included, don't have time, the clock constantly ticks and we are very aware of it. As a front seat spectator in this research I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude to the doctors, surgeon and research scientists at UK who work to end Parkinson's with passion and intensity. How can we deny them the opportunity to achieve their goals and how could we possibly forget the hundreds and thousands of patients whose lives we can change and even save? With this new funding we can move ahead with our research, which means we can perform more surgeries. We have no shortage of willing patients, the number on the waiting list grows daily. To date we have preformed 33 surgeries using the peripheral nerve graft and the results are very promising.
Hanley concluded, “I can't begin to thank the many wonderful people who have loved and supported me with this cause. It could never have happened without WinStar, Coolmore and Fasig-Tipton which includes the Troutt family, Elliott Walden, Dermot Ryan, Aisling Duignan, Boyd Browning, Anna Seitz, Amy and Caroline Walsh at WinStar and a host of others.”
The event was attended by over 300 people, who sponsored tables, enjoyed music by The Wooks and Steve Norman & the Shades of Grass, and bid on auction items. Those items brought:
*S F Bloodstock had the winning bid of $8,000 for box seats for Travers S. at Saratoga, donated by Fasig-Tipton.
*Hagyard's bid $3,200 for a Jefferson's Bourbon private tasting, courtesy of Jefferson's Bourbon.
*A framed American Pharoah halter, donated by Ashford Stud and the Cross Gate Gallery, brought a bid of $6,000 from Carrie Brogden.
*A season to the recently retired Grade I winner on dirt and turf, Mshawish (Medaglia d'Oro), courtesy of Taylor Made Farm, was purchased by Dr. Pug Hart for $17,000.
*Woodford Thoroughbred bid $7,500 for a weekend of racing at the 2016 Keeneland Autumn Meet, including box seats and a weekend stay at the WinStar guesthouse.
“What I love about our industry is the generosity that is shown to our horses, our people, and even people that we don't even know,” said WinStar's CEO, Elliott Walden. “This night is an example of that. Parkinson's patients that don't know how to spell 'horse' will be impacted greatly by this night.”
“We're delighted to be a part of this very good cause,” said Coolmore America's Director of Sales, Charlie O'Connor. “We are very appreciative of everybody in the horse community and the way they got behind this fundraiser, and how supportive they were our colleague and friend.”
Parkinson's is a degenerative disease that causes the breakdown or death of neurons in the brain. With no exact known cause, Parkinson's develops gradually and causes a variety of symptoms, including muscle rigidity and tremors, as well as difficulty moving and unstable posture. It is estimated that about one million Americans and 10 million people worldwide have the disease.
For more information on the fund, click here: https://vimeo.com/166832741/48cd4be379. To donate, make checks payable to the Ann Hanley Fund for Parkinson's at The University of Kentucky, and mail to Ann Hanley, c/o WinStar Farm, LLC, 3001 Pisgah Pike, Versailles, KY 40383.