Father Turns Parkinson's Diagnosis into Mission to Find a Cure
By Megan McCannNeurosciences December 23, 2011
In 2006, Paul Ruby was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, an incurable neurodegenerative condition which impacts millions of Americans. For many, a diagnosis like this would stop them in their tracks. For Ruby, it did just the opposite.
Initially, he was shocked and scared after being diagnosed. However, a short time later the actions of his 10 year old son inspired Ruby to face his illness head on and support those who were searching for a cure.
"My son, who was 10 at the time of my diagnosis, saw in the newspaper that President Bush had vetoed funding for stem cell research and took it upon himself to write the president a letter,” explained Ruby. “He finished the letter by saying ‘I just want to be able to play catch with my dad.’ I realized that if a 10 year old kid can try to make a difference, I better do the same.”
Ruby started the Paul Ruby Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, a grassroots organization that raises funds to support Northwestern Medicine researchers who are working to find better treatments, and ultimately a cure at Northwestern’s Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center. To date, the Paul Ruby Foundation has contributed more than $325,000 to Parkinson’s research at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, including a recent gift of $100,000 to fund two research projects in 2012.