March 2010 E-Newsletter - From the CEO

      Every year, the PAN Forum helps us usher in spring here in Washington, DC.  The weather starts turning warmer, the snow begins to melt, and hundreds of Parkinson’s advocates come to Washington to advocate for the Parkinson’s community.

This year, however, we decided to try something new for the annual PAN Research & Public Policy Forum.  Rather than have hundreds of advocates from across the country come to Washington for the Forum, we wanted to send the Forum to our advocates across the country.  This was achieved by using Webcast technology, a live, online broadcast that featured speakers and panel discussions on many issues familiar to the Parkinson’s community.  What began as an experiment with new technology transformed into one of the most successful PAN Forums ever.

Not only did PAN register the most people ever for a Forum – nearly 1,500 from 49 of the 50 states – but the vast majority of those participants are new to PAN.  This greatly extended our reach into the community, opening our doors to people living with Parkinson’s, their families, caregivers, and friends, who otherwise would not have been PAN advocates.  It is our hope that these new PAN advocates will remain committed and active throughout the year.

Of course, that is one of the great missions of the PAN Forum.  Not only do we seek to educate advocates about the important issues of the day in our community, but we must continue that education and advocacy year round.  Legislative issues continue to arise throughout the year, and we must continue our outreach to our elected officials in order to keep our issues at the forefront.  That is the mission of PAN.  (To do just that, view our active Action Alerts right now and contact your Members of Congress!)

For those of you who are new to PAN, I want to thank you for your participation in the Forum.  Also, for those who were not able to participate, it is not too late.  You can watch the full Forum Webcast, or individual segments, at www.thepanforum.org.  Please watch the Webcast now, and use it as a resource year-round.  The Webcast is a wealth of information, and it can inform our advocacy throughout the year.  I look forward to working with you all in the future as we work toward our ultimate goal of curing Parkinson’s disease.

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