May 9, 2018 - Inside 23andMe

Honoring Parkinson’s Awareness Month

Wide Moving Day

At 23andMe, we are committed to accelerating and advancing Parkinson’s disease research. So when April comes around, employees make a point of honoring Parkinson’s Awareness Month.

As we’ve done in the past, this year, 23andMe employees organized a fundraiser and participated in a walk at the May 6th Moving Day event in San Francisco organized by The Parkinson’s Foundation.

A Special Day

This year’s fundraiser was extra special because it coincided with 23andMe’s 12th anniversary on April 27th! It included a bake sale, a silent auction, and probably the most fun event of all, an employee talent show in front of the entire company.

From left to right: Fah Sathirapongsasuti, Briana Cameron, Sarah Laskey, Olga Sazonova, Karl Heilbron, Rajan Patel, Cody Sam, Ksenia Kriksunov, Margaret Adams, and Liz Noblin.

“How many adults get to participate in a talent show at work? Not many,” said Patricia Penton, a 23andMe employee and one of last year’s talent show performers. “And how many adults get to participate in a talent show at work to raise funds for Parkinson’s disease research? Probably just us. That’s pretty awesome.”

Raising Awareness and Raising Money

What’s even more awesome is that, together, 23andMe employees were able to raise money for Parkinson’s disease research. 23andMe has participated in the Moving Day event since 2016, and has raised close to $50,000 for this event since then.

23andMe’s commitment to Parkinson’s research goes back to some of our earliest published work, and our Parkinson’s disease community which has been a great partner in advancing this research. We will continue to build this community, which is focused on better understanding the role of genetics in this disease. Our goal is to improve diagnosis and treatment, and maybe even help find a cure for Parkinson’s disease.

Fox Insight

With that in mind, last fall, we expanded our long-running partnership with The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) to join forces and extend MJFF’s online clinical study, Fox Insight, to 23andMe customers with Parkinson’s disease.

Through Fox Insight, people with and without Parkinson’s are providing researchers with critical insights about the lived experience and variability of the disease, simply by answering health-related survey questions. More than 18,000 participants have already enrolled, but that’s just the beginning. The study aims to recruit tens of thousands more participants, because a large, diverse group has great potential to lead to a better understanding of Parkinson’s disease.

Multi-talents Thao Do and Aaron Petrakovitz show off their ballroom dancing moves.

Sloshing around the gene pool were one of this year’s talent show acts the “Synchronized Scientists.”

Eligible Fox Insight participants with Parkinson’s can help researchers gain a holistic picture of the disease by joining the Fox Insight Genetic Sub-study, powered by 23andMe. To sign up, individuals first need to join Fox Insight and complete some basic study steps. Eligible enrollees are then invited to participate in the sub-study. Through this sub-study, eligible participants can also receive genetic counseling at no cost.

23andMe customers with Parkinson’s disease are welcome to enroll in Fox Insight and share their genetic data through the Fox Insight Genetic Sub-study. Participants’ de-identified genetic data will be coupled with survey response data and made available to qualified researchers at 23andMe and other organizations to drive Parkinson’s disease research and development of new treatments. Learn more.

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