Ann Hanley, wife of WinStar Farm General Manager David Hanley, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease at the age of 49 and instead of letting it get her down, she was inspired and empowered. She started the Ann Hanley Parkinson’s Research Fund and teamed up with the University of Kentucky’s Dr. Craig Van Horne and Professor Greg Gerhardt to advance their groundbreaking research to treat this incurable disease through surgical procedure that implants a nerve graft into the brain.
The majority of the funding for this research has come from members of the Thoroughbred industry. Fasig-Tipton, Coolmore and WinStar hosted “Night for a Cure” during the Fasig-Tipton July sale, which raised over $300,000 and Goffs hosted a similar event that brought in over €150,000.
“What I really wanted to get across to the Thoroughbred community is the fact that they have been so helpful and so dedicated to my cause and they have really helped us get started with this study which is really important for Parkinson’s,” Hanley told the TDN. “We’ve implanted 34 patients with nerve grafts into the brain thanks to this funding. We’ve been able to see that it is a very safe procedure and it is really tolerated well.”
Hanley added, “Of that 34 we have 17 patients that are one year out [from having the procedure] and 11 of the 17 have shown clinically important improvements. This is really unbelievable and it’s amazing for this first of its kind study. The rest of those patients of the 17 all did well, but the 11 did really outstanding.”