Annual Vision Dinner to Provide Funds to Find a Cure for Hydrocephalus

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Annual Vision Dinner to provide funds for first-of-its-kind Initiative to find a cure for hydrocephalus

New York, New York | October 12, 2015

On October 15, the Hydrocephalus Association, the largest private funder of hydrocephalus research in the US, will hold its annual Vision Dinner in New York City. Themed, A Time for Awareness, The Hope of a Cure, the dinner will raise crucial funds to kick-start a breakthrough initiative aimed at curing hydrocephalus, a potentially fatal condition that affects more than 1 million Americans, whose only treatment option is brain surgery.

Hydrocephalus, which affects people of all ages, is caused by an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain. Repeated brain surgeries are often needed due to high failure rates of the predominant treatment—the insertion of a medical device called a shunt into the brain. Left untreated, it’s life-threatening.

The Vision Dinner will host researchers, philanthropists, business leaders and advocates to hear the latest news regarding a new global initiative to find a cure for hydrocephalus and to celebrate community members making a difference.

The event will serve as a major fundraising drive to provide funds needed to support a virtual lab to accelerate cure-based research for hydrocephalus. The virtual lab, HA’s Network for Discovery Science (HANDS) which will launch in the fall of 2015, will unite and centralize the world’s leading researchers and their work, providing access to the tools, specimens and the expertise of scientists and clinicians around the globe to expedite the development and implementation of innovative, cure-focused ideas.

HANDS will also provide seed grants to researchers who have promising theories in developing a cure for hydrocephalus. These seed grants enable scientists to obtain the preliminary data needed to be competitive for larger NIH grants, which are highly selective.

The evening is underwritten by generous benefactors, Craig and Vicki Brown, who ensure every dollar donated is allocated to advance hydrocephalus research.  “Treatment is not a cure. We must accelerate the development and implementation of innovative, cure-focused ideas,” said Craig Brown, Senior Vice Chair, Hydrocephalus Association Board of Directors, “It is a healthcare crisis—current treatment is woefully inadequate and the cost of treating hydrocephalus exceeds over 2 billion dollars per year in hospital charges alone.”

Keynote Speakers & Honorees

Jerold Chun, MD, PhD, a professor, Department of Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, The Scripps Research Institute, will serve as the keynote speaker for the event.  Dr. Chun, whose landmark discovery of a significant factor in the development of hydrocephalus in newborns, could potentially lead to a medical treatment that could prevent hydrocephalus and resulting surgeries.

A Leadership Award will be presented to Dr. Story Landis, former director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at the National Institutes of Health, for her work building bridges between patients, advocacy groups, scientists, and doctors, during her role as director of NINDS from 2003-2014.

A Service Award will be presented to James P. McAllister II, PhD, professor in the Department of Neurosurgery, Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Washington University and the Saint Louis Children’s Hospital, for his commitment to improving the treatment of, and work to get closer to a cure for hydrocephalus. Dr. McAllister has dedicated nearly 31 years to the study of hydrocephalus, and believes hydrocephalus could be a preventable disease.

The Inspiration Award will be accepted by Pam Finlayson, posthumously on behalf of her daughter, Kate Finlayson, who passed away in 2010 due to complications of hydrocephalus at 26 years old and after more than 130 brain surgeries. Kate was, and remains an inspiration for everyone dedicated to furthering the fight against hydrocephalus. Kate’s family continues to honor Kate’s memory by working tirelessly to help move closer to finding a cure for hydrocephalus.  Kate’s courage inspired her brothers to found Team Hydro to raise awareness and funds for hydrocephalus research.  To date Team Hydro, which participates in the annual open water “Sharkfest” swim events across the U.S., has raised almost $440,000.

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