Rasheda Ali Walsh, Shelby Hall and Dr. Deanna Brown Thomas Join Together at Reno’s National Automobile Museum During an Evening of Music & Motion


Drive Toward a Cure ‘s evening of Music & Motion was a spectacular night of iconic cars and stars – celebrating that “People with Parkinson’s Can Do Great Things!” – Held at Reno’s National Automobile Museum, and supporting the more than 5,000 people living with Parkinson’s in the High Sierra Region by benefiting the Parkinson Support Center of Northern Nevada.

The ‘halo’ car for the evening was the 1952 Jaguar C-Type, chassis XKC-007, driven victoriously by gentleman driver and Parkinson’s warrior, Phil Hill – America’s first Formula One Champion.

Molly Rose Lewis, Regional Representative & Healthcare Manager for U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (Right) presented certificates of appreciation to the evening’s Conversation for a Cause® panelists, Dr. Deanna Brown Thomas (left), Shelby Hall (2nd from left), Rasheda Ali (center) and moderator Vanessa Williams (2nd from right) – all women of influence and aligned to support Parkinson’s disease.

Dr. Deanna Brown Thomas, daughter of ‘The Godfather of Soul’ James Brown (left) joined Shelby Hall, Rasheda Ali and Vanessa Williams during the Conversation for a Cause® live discussion at the National Automobile Museum, during Drive Toward a Cure’s Evening of Music and Motion to benefit the Parkinson Support Center of Northern Nevada.

Multi-award winning singer/actress/producer Vanessa Williams, enjoyed moderating the lively and heartfelt Conversation for a Cause® live discussion engaging legacies of iconic royalty including the daughters of ‘The Godfather of Soul” James Brown and ‘The Greatest,’ Heavyweight Champion Muhammad Ali – the evening supported Parkinson’s disease through host Drive Toward a Cure, benefitting the Parkinson’s Support Center of Northern Nevada.

Automotive and motorsport artist Kelly Telfer (left) standing with Drive Toward a Cure founder Deb Pollack, commemorated both Phil Hill’s brilliant racing career and the #41 Jag displayed (which Phil victoriously raced and signed) within an original 48” x 36’ acrylic on gallery-wrapped canvas painting, as a donation to be auctioned that evening in support of Parkinson’s disease.

RENO, NevadaApril 22, 2024Drive Toward a Cure’s evening of Music & Motion on Thursday, April 18th, was truly a spectacular night of iconic cars and stars. Held at Reno’s National Automobile Museum, the event supported the more than 5,000 people living with Parkinson’s disease in the High Sierra Region by benefiting the Parkinson Support Center of Northern Nevada.  (View high res photos here:

While there may have been more than 200 cars and more than 200 people in attendance, it was the four empowered women on the Gallery 4 stage that brought the most attention for the evening.  Multi-award-winning singer/actress/producer Vanessa Williams moderated a lively discussion engaging legacies of other iconic royalty including the daughter of “The Godfather of Soul” James Brown — Dr. Deanna Brown Thomas; the daughter of “the Greatest,” Heavyweight Champion Muhammad Ali — Rasheda Ali Walsh; along with professional off-road athlete Shelby Hall, a Reno native and granddaughter of the most decorated off-road racer and Hall of Fame inductee Rod Hall – with two of the three influential men, having struggled publicly with Parkinson’s disease.

According to Drive Toward a Cure founder Deb Pollack, the commonality shared by each of the panelists was indeed the “motion” aspect, for the night.   “For us, aside from literal ties to music and cars, motion is really a metaphor for mobility, one of the most challenging aspects of Parkinson’s disease.”

During the hour-long Conversation for a Cause® open discussion and forum, the dialog included personal anecdotes and memories gleaned from each of the panelist’s influential family members, with nods toward favorite cars ranging from Mr. Ali’s Rolls Royce Corniche convertible in which he would gather all his children and proudly parade through Los Angeles, to James Brown’s 1941 Lincoln and various Cadillac convertibles. 

Shelby lovingly recalled how she, together with her then near-80-year-old grandfather, competed and completed the NORRA Mexican 1000 in 2016, an adventure rally with competitors from racing icons to current stars.  The event was the last he was able to drive his beloved Bronco, despite being lifted into the race-prepared truck due to his own debilitation from Parkinson’s.

Ms. Ali-Walsh, a longtime advocate for Parkinson’s and author of the children’s book “I’ll Hold Your Hand So You Won’t Fall: A Child’s Guide to Parkinson’s Disease” was inspired by her father’s interaction with her own children and also shared her involvement with stem cell research, while Dr. Brown Thomas discussed her own role with children and the James Brown Academy of Musik Pupils (JAMP), a year-round initiative she founded more than a dozen years ago through the James Brown Family Foundation, operating solely on grants, donations and tuition to motivate, educate and inspire children through the universal language of music, and to enrich their hidden  musical abilities.

Another visual highlight of the evening, and perhaps equally meaningful, was the rare Jaguar C-Type (Chassis XKC-007) driven victoriously by gentleman driver and Parkinson’s warrior, Phil Hill – America’s first Formula One Champion.  This particular Jaguar (#41) was on loan for the one night only, from its current owner, and was the “halo” car for the event. The Foundation’s alignment with Hill dates back to the early beginnings of Drive Toward a Cure’s inception and was the inspiration for the organization first teaming Cars and Camaraderie® to raise awareness for Parkinson’s.  The team hosted a special 80th birthday celebration for Hill, providing his last on-track experience, and was driven by his son Derek.  Automotive and motorsport artist Kelly Telfer captured Hill’s brilliant racing career wins in an original 48” x 36’ acrylic on gallery-wrapped canvas as a donation to be auctioned that evening.

All proceeds from the evening’s silent auction will go directly to the Parkinson Support Center of Northern Nevada, spearheaded by Dr. Mindy Lokshin, who is the vision behind the growing information and resource center for those living with Parkinson’s disease in the High Sierra Region.  While only three-years-new, the Center has embarked on a financial journey to raise $500,000 over the next five years to create a true technologically friendly facility that will continue to bring the northern Nevada Parkinson’s community together with expanded support services, educational programming, and continued advocacy – all resulting in a positive impact for those living with this chronic disease. For more information, to volunteer or join the local Reno area Parkinson’s community, view


About Drive Toward a Cure:

National non-profit Foundation Drive Toward a Cure raises funds and awareness for Parkinson’s Disease research AND patient care by expanding our message throughout the automotive community at large. Inspired by the camaraderie found within the car 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 foundation supporting beneficiaries including The Michael J. Fox Foundation, the Parkinson’s Foundation, and numerous regional Centers of Excellence for Parkinson’s. Grants are provided through Drive Toward a Cure’s ‘Access to Care’ and ‘Special Assistance’ grant funds, created to support challenged individuals and specific directive programs. For donations, sponsorship and event registration view

About Parkinson Support Center of Northern Nevada:

The Parkinson Support Center of Northern Nevada (PSCNN) is a 501.c.3 nonprofit organization founded in 2021, during the peak of the Covid19 pandemic, and is dedicated to helping the over 5,000 patients and their families affected by Parkinson’s Disease (PD) in northern Nevada.

PSCNN exists so no one has to face Parkinson’s alone, providing support for those affected by Parkinson’s, creating opportunities for the local Parkinson community to engage and connect, and providing information to the public to raise awareness of the disease. The Goal is to connect people to the information, support services, programs, and activities they need to enhance wellness and live an active, engaged life.

PSCNN is a 100% volunteer organization and is the only organization in the region serving the Parkinson’s disease (PD) community. It was created with the vision of meeting the needs of PD population by leveraging volunteer passion to provide wrap-around services so that the Parkinson’s community can feel embraced and supported. The Board is led by Chair Dr. Mindy Lokshin, a family physician with multiple family members with PD, who has now dedicated her career to helping people with PD. The Vice Chair is Nicole Mueller who previously was the coordinator for the American Parkinson’s Disease Association (APDA) Information and Resource Center in Reno. All remaining Board members either have PD themselves or have a loved one with the disease. It is a 100% giving Board of passionate advocates.

The Parkinson Support Center of Northern Nevada (PSCNN) is the only organization serving this population in the Sierra region. PSCNN is an all-volunteer nonprofit that provides support programs, education and advocacy. You can learn more at

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. The degeneration of dopamine-producing nerve cells can cause abnormal brain activity, leading to tremors, stiffness, rigidity, and impaired movement, as well as non-motor symptoms (e.g., depression and anxiety). There is no cure for Parkinson’s and 90,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the United States alone.

Young-onset Parkinson’s disease (YOPD) occurs in people younger than 50 years of age, and affects about four percent of the nearly one million people with Parkinson’s in the U.S. (Current estimates are that about 2 percent of the 1 million people with Parkinson’s in the U.S. were diagnosed earlier than age 40). While symptoms are similar to late onset Parkinson’s, YOPD individuals often face challenges at a financial, family and employment level, making focusing on their own wellness and care more difficult.

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