PAN Louisiana State Coordinator Michelle Lane Given 2011 Milly Award
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PAN’s network of advocates across America is the engine that drives us forward in our mission. There is no PAN without our grassroots advocacy network. And, there are no grassroots advocates without local communities of people living with Parkinson’s disease, working together to affect change. PAN advocates across nearly all 50 states work every day to raise awareness of Parkinson’s and educate their elected officials about the need for strong federal policies and funding for Parkinson’s research and support. It is the advocates’ passion, dedication, and persistence in fighting for strong federal policy and funding for Parkinson’s research that is helping us bring about the policies we need.
At the Parkinson’s Action Network’s 2011 Morris K. Udall Awards Dinner on September 14, Michelle Lane received the Milly Kondracke Award for Outstanding Advocacy. Milly Kondracke was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1987 and, after a brave struggle, she lost her battle in 2004. Not only did she fight the disease with extraordinary dignity, she advocated tirelessly and effectively for an increased federal commitment to Parkinson’s research. Milly humanized Parkinson’s and educated lawmakers about the importance of a federal commitment that lives up to the scientific potential. Milly’s incredible strength of spirit and steadfast devotion to advocacy and education are the inspiration for the Milly Kondracke Award for Outstanding Advocacy, which is presented annually to an advocate who embodies the incredible strength of spirit and commitment to advocacy that Milly demonstrated.
Michelle Lane was diagnosed with Young-onset Parkinson’s disease in 2000, and began working with PAN on its advocacy efforts in 2002. Michelle and her husband, Ronnie, and their three children live just outside New Orleans.
As PAN’s Louisiana State Coordinator, Michelle helps lead PAN’s advocacy and outreach efforts toward Louisiana’s elected officials. She meets with Senators and Representatives from her state, speaks at events and conferences, works with other people with Parkinson’s in support groups, and is a trusted confidante and friend to the newly diagnosed.
Last year’s Milly Award winner, James Trussell, had this to say about Michelle: “I first met Michelle in 2004 at a Young-Onset Parkinson’s conference. What I remember most about that first meeting was her infectious smile. I had just been diagnosed and Michelle’s optimism gave me hope. As I got more involved with the Parkinson’s community, I began looking to Michelle as a mentor and a friend. No matter how many times I emailed or called her, she was always ready with good advice. Michelle really encouraged me to get involved with PAN, and her dedication and knowledge about the political process is second to none. Whether it’s fighting for stem cell research or keeping the PD community together during a natural disaster like Hurricane Katrina, you can look to Michelle for leadership. I am very proud that Michelle is the 2011 recipient of the Milly Kondracke Award for Outstanding Advocacy. She is truly a giant among Parkinson Disease advocates. She is one of my heroes.”
Michelle is one of our heroes, too. Congratulations, Michelle, and thank you for everything you do!
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