PURCHASE, N.Y. – The 22nd annual Bachmann-Strauss Dystonia & Parkinson Foundation’s Hedi Kravis Ruger Memorial Golf Invitational at Century Club in Purchase raised $1.1 million to help fund dystonia and Parkinson's disease research.
Willie Geist, co-host of NBC’s "Today’s Take" and MSNBC’s "Morning Joe," served as emcee. Geist and his father, Bill Geist, of CBS’ "Sunday Morning," co-authored "Good Talk, Dad" after the elder Geist was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
The theme of this year’s event, Stepping Forward Towards a Cure, focused on recent advancements in dystonia and Parkinson’s research and the challenges ahead in finding better treatments and cures.
A live auction, which raised $160,400, featured a private dinner for 10 with actress Blythe Danner, a dinner for 12 prepared by celebrity chef David Burke and other luxurious items.
Top executives, including Charlie Collier, president of AMC cable television ghannel, joined forces to help raise funds for dystonia and Parkinson’s disease research. Other notable guests included Thomas W. Strauss, chairman of Ramius, LLC and vice chairman, Cowen Group.
The evening program featured an inspirational speech by 16-year-old Ben Collier of Darien, Conn, the son of the AMC executive and his wife, Kristin.
An avid tennis and piano player, Ben noticed something wrong with his right foot last year and was ultimately diagnosed with dystonia, a neurological movement disorder that causes uncontrollable and, at times, painful spasms in one or more parts of the body.
Dystonia affects an estimated 500,000 men, women and children in North America.
World-class pianist Gohei Nishikawa, who also suffers from dystonia, performed during the evening program. A classical pianist who stopped performing for years due to dystonia, he was a rising young star who had performed at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. In 2003, he was diagnosed with dystonia, which halted his promising career. Rather than give up performing, he decided to do whatever it took to play again and help others with dystonia. Although he still does not have the full use of his hands, he created his own way of playing the piano without utilizing all his fingers.
The Bachmann-Strauss Foundation is an independent, nonprofit, 501c(3) organization established in 1995 by Louis Bachmann (1916-2000) and Bonnie Strauss to find better treatments and cures for the movement disorders dystonia and Parkinson’s disease and to provide medical and patient information. The foundation funds scientific and clinical research and helps raise awareness of the diseases among the public and medical community.
The Bachmann-Strauss Dystonia & Parkinson Foundation has given more than $17 million to support basic, translational and clinical research and other scientific and educational projects. For further information about the foundation visit its website.