Parkinson's Action Network Honors Israel Robledo with the 2014 Milly Kondracke Award for Outstanding Advocacy

Contact: Kristina Gawrgy Campbell, [email protected], 202-638-4101 x113

(WASHINGTON, July 8, 2014)—The Parkinson’s Action Network (PAN) will honor Texas State Director Israel Robledo with the 2014 Milly Kondracke Award for Outstanding Advocacy.

Israel has been an outstanding volunteer advocate with PAN since 2008. In his volunteer role, he has met with elected officials about Parkinson’s disease policy issues, educated his local community in Texas, and participated in a congressional briefing on the benefits of telehealth for people with Parkinson’s disease. As Texas State Director, Israel volunteers his time to direct the advocacy work in Texas for PAN including working with seven assistant state directors and countless others who engage with PAN and Members of Congress online.

Israel was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s disease in 2007 at the age of 42.  When he was first diagnosed, he found a lack of resources about the disease in his home state and began work on changing that. He started arming himself with as much information as possible and getting involved in virtually every Parkinson’s disease organization. He also started his own nonprofit in Texas to help people with Parkinson’s pay for their prescriptions and medical bills.

“I don’t believe the word ‘no’ is in Israel’s vocabulary,” said Hayley Carpenter, deputy CEO of PAN. “He is one of the most dedicated volunteer advocates for people with Parkinson’s that I have ever met. His determination and zeal for helping others is an inspiration. The community and PAN are lucky to have him fighting for people with Parkinson’s.”

In addition to being a dedicated and enthusiastic volunteer advocate with PAN, Israel serves in leadership roles in several other national organizations. Israel served as co-chair of the program committee and chair of the subcommittee on advocacy for the World Parkinson Congress in Montreal in October 2013.  He has served as a research grant reviewer for the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, a research organization established as part of the Affordable Care Act. He’s also volunteered as a Parkinson’s Disease Foundation Research Advocate, a Michael J. Fox Foundation Fox Trial Finder Ambassador, and a Parkinson's Movement Ambassador.

If that community work wasn’t enough, Israel is also a bilingual resource teacher in Midland, Texas, where he was born and raised and still lives today. He also maintains a blog to connect with others with Parkinson’s disease.

In his blog profile, Israel explained why he feels compelled to be a voice for others. He said that after he received his diagnosis, he thought as “a fairly healthy man dealing with an incessant tremor, balance problems, and increasing rigidity in the arms and legs, I turned a corner and saw that others were much worse off than me and I could become an advocate for those whom couldn’t speak for themselves.”

Regarding winning the Milly Kondracke Award, Israel said, “I am honored to be chosen from so many who work tirelessly at seeking better treatments and finding the elusive cure for Parkinson's disease. So much has been done by so many through the years, including Milly, to raise awareness and, more importantly, educate others about this disease. My promise has been to do what I can, while I still can, to make a difference in getting rid of this disease. That promise still stands.”

The award is named for the wife of journalist and PAN Board Member, Morton Kondracke. Milly Kondracke was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1987 and, after a brave struggle, lost her battle in 2004. Not only did she fight the disease with extraordinary dignity, she tirelessly and effectively advocated for increased federal commitment to Parkinson’s research. On behalf of millions of advocates across the country, Milly was the public face of Parkinson’s disease on Capitol Hill. Milly humanized Parkinson’s and educated lawmakers about the importance of a federal commitment that lives up to the scientific potential. The Milly Kondracke Award for Outstanding Advocacy is presented to advocates who embody the incredible strength of spirit and commitment to advocacy that Milly demonstrated every day.

Israel will receive the award at the Morris K. Udall Awards Dinner, PAN’s annual celebration of the Parkinson’s community, on October 1. For more information about the dinner, visit www.parkinsonsaction.org/udall.

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PAN is the unified voice of the Parkinson’s community advocating for better treatments and a cure. In partnership with other Parkinson’s organizations and our powerful grassroots network, PAN educates the public and government leaders on better policies for research and an improved quality of life for people living with Parkinson’s. PAN was founded in 1991 and is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. To learn more, visit www.ParkinsonsAction.org.