OK, I dare you to look at these photos and not succumb to “Awwwwww”. C’mon, admit it, these little racoons are soooooo cute! So, what’s the deal with racoons? When I went to the Montreal World Parkinson’s Conference in 2013, one of our Canadian hosts, Bob Kuhn was selling cute little stuffed racoons as a fund raiser to cover travel expenses for junior Parkinson’s researchers. I don’t know if it was as a result of his campaign but there were a lot of young researchers there.
(Bob’s quite an amazing guy — He’s taking a break from his blog “Positively Parkinson’s”, because he’s, um, busy — running a university, still maintaining his law practice in British Columbia, and raising money for PD.)
Why racoons? For starters, they are very Canadian. Also, they have a “mask” like the “Parkinson’s mask” many People with Parkinson’s have due to a low blink rate. Also, racoons are (all together now) sooooo cute! Bob had originally used a racoon image to explain his Parkinson’s to his young grandson, and to subsequently communicate about PD with a global audience on a worldwide bike ride.
I hope there are even more researchers at the Portland World Parkinson’s Conference in 2016. The conference gives them a chance to present their work, mingle with world leaders in PD research, and network to find that all important next research grant! You can help by ordering your very own Parky — a steal at $25! Want to help more? Consider a donation to help a researcher or a Person with Parkinson’s get to the conference.