Deb Pollack, founder Drive Toward a Cure
(t) 805.320.9248   (e)


Pacific Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence Creates Expanded Resource Center
to Benefit Parkinson’s Community

PORTLAND, OR – August 30, 2022 – National non-profit foundation Drive Toward a Cure has expanded its giving efforts through its own ‘Access to Care’ program that provides grant funding to support individualized patient care programs throughout the country.  The latest example includes the generous funding of an all-new ‘Caregiver Academy’ for the OHSU Parkinson Center, one of more than 35 regional Centers of Excellence within the Parkinson’s Foundation.

Drive Toward a Cure pursues an alternative to the numerous ‘for profit’ rally driving programs through the creation of events that team Cars and Camaraderie™ to raise funds and awareness to support the challenges of Parkinson’s Disease, benefiting research and patient care. The majority of funds contributed to OHSU from Drive Toward a Cure were raised through localized events the charity had created including various fundraising ‘drives’ through scenic areas of Oregon and Southwest Washington. 

Beginning this past week with the piloting of a three-part virtual program, the Caregiver Academy will provide caregivers with resources and support as they navigate their care journey.

According to Drive Toward a Cure founder Deb Pollack, the need for patient care goes long past specific medical and clinical care and includes an understanding of future changes including housing situations, respite care and legal advice in care planning – all specialized areas within the program that are intended to better educate caregivers to help with easy transitions for their patients.

“Knowing first-hand what my own mom’s needs were, especially as the disease progressed, made it easy to understand the necessity to foster emotional and educational support to those that are helping provide patient care,” said Pollack.  “Caregivers are the ones that take on a much-needed daily role and require resources that can provide advance knowledge that can ease anxiety for all.”

The OHSU Parkinson Center’s ‘Caregiver Academy’ kicked off earlier last week with the first in a three-part series of virtual events outlining what to expect when planning care for a loved one with Parkinson’s.  The virtual series will continue through December 7th.  Each session will include 25 attendees. Participants were selected following a registration survey that included 65 total responses from individuals who were identified as the primary caregiver for a loved one with Parkinson’s disease.

All events will feature a keynote presentation by experts. The next event, “Respite Care and the Psychology of Being a Caregiver,” is scheduled for October 5th, and the final in the series is expected to focus on “Legal Advice in Care-planning” on December 7th.  For more information, contact

Jeni Bednarek, RN, Associate Director of Education and Team Care Coordinator for the OHSU Parkinson Center, leads and oversees educational needs and best practices within the Parkinson movement disorders clinic.   “Thanks to Drive Toward a Cure, we are finally able to branch out, extend additional resources and implement opportunities for all who are involved with Parkinson’s patients,” said Bednarek. 

“We are looking to grow this program and provide the ongoing support that is vital to those afflicted, beginning with virtual programs and eventually including in-person learning events, while providing ongoing information and other assets.”


About OHSU Parkinson Center

For over 40 years the Parkinson Center of Oregon (PCO) has been a national leader in the battle against Parkinson’s disease and a center of hope for people with the illness. The PCO is unique in its dedication to providing comprehensive patient-centered care and innovative educational programs for people affected by Parkinson’s disease while conducting groundbreaking research.

Our mission is to improve the care of people with Parkinson’s disease by offering expertise and comprehensive care, providing education to patients, families and professionals, and promoting research into causes and treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

About Drive Toward a Cure:

Drive Toward a Cure raises funds and awareness for Parkinson’s Disease research AND patient care. Inspired by the camaraderie found within the automotive culture, the organization’s mission benefits equally from both enthusiast communities and industry professionals.  Drive Toward a Cure events harness enthusiasm for cars and driving and turn that power into support for ongoing work to improve the lives of those living with Parkinson’s, as well as the research that will hopefully one day lead to a cure. Since 2016, Drive Toward a Cure has raised more than one million dollars to support BOTH research AND patient care.

Drive Toward a Cure is a 501(c)(3) non-profit supporting beneficiaries including The Michael J. Fox Foundation, the Parkinson’s Foundation, and numerous Centers of Excellence for Parkinson’s. For donations, sponsorship and event registration please visit

About Parkinson’s Disease

Affecting nearly one million Americans and 10 million worldwide, Parkinson’s disease is the second-most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s and is the 14th-leading cause of death in the United States. It is associated with a progressive loss of motor control (e.g., shaking or tremor at rest and lack of facial expression), as well as non-motor symptoms (e.g., depression and anxiety). There is no cure for Parkinson’s and 60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the United States alone.

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