ParkinSong Benefit Concert

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The Parkinson Alliance concert, ParkinSong, was held on April 28th at Lawrence High School, Lawrenceville NJ in honor of retired English teacher, Selma Litowitz. The event was hosted by comic and Lawrence High School alumni Jon Stewart. ParkinSong raised over $60,000, including matching funds from the Tuchman Foundation, for Parkinson's disease.

Jon Stewart opened the concert with a hillariously entertaining monologue reminiscing about his days as a student and his memories of Mrs. Litowitz. Mr. Stewart was followed by performances by Philadelphia-based progressive band Grey Eye Glances, singer/songwriter Anna Egge from New Mexico and the singing duo of Terri Hendrix and Lloyd Maines. The April 28th benefit was organized by Mrs. Litowitz' three children, Carol Golden of Princeton, Debbie Frank of Newtown, PA, and Robert Litowitz of Washington, D.C. to raise funds and awareness for Parkinson's disease. Their mother now faces the challenges of this progressive disease. This year is also their parents' 50th wedding anniversary. "I thought we should do something useful for Parkinson's disease rather than throw a party or give them a gift that they don't need," said Ms. Frank. There was great support from the community where Selma taught English literature for 20 years. "She was one of my favorites," said Mr. Stewart.

As a result of the successful benefit concert a research grant has been named for Selma Litowitz. The grant is entitled "Conversion of Human Adult Bone Marrow Stem Cells into Dopamine Neurons" and the researcher is Dr. Walter C. Low, PhD. Dr. Low and his research team at the University of Minnesota have isolated stem cell population from human adult bone marrow that can differentiate into neurons in culture. They hypothesize that with appropriate stimulation (using trophic factors), they can produce dopaminergic neurons from these stem cells that could replace fetal tissue as a source for replacement cells in diseased brains such as those with Parkinson's disease.

The Parkinson Alliance is delighted with the success of the concert that far exceeded their expectations and was honored to work with the Litowitz children who were so dedicated.

For more information about ParkinSong please call The Parkinson Alliance at
1-800-579-8440.



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