NORMAN, Okla. — Dr. Nicole Jarvis, a Norman OB-GYN, said Parkinson’s disease has so far affected approximately 1 million people in the United States, including about 15,000 Oklahomans. Jarvis is one of them.
When she was first diagnosed with the disease at age 38, she decided she would do everything she could to give others a fighting chance.
Two years later, she established the Nicole Jarvis, M.D., Parkinson’s Research Foundation, and with it, an annual event centered around finding a cure.
On Thursday, the organization will celebrate its seventh annual winter gala at Embassy Suites in Norman.
“This year’s theme is about how research and patient services affect every single one of us, not just patients themselves,” Jarvis said. “We will have several local patients and families briefly share their personal journeys and express how vital it is to fund cutting edge research and patient services.”
The gala will again be welcoming OU women’s basketball coach Sherri Coale as the event’s emcee and Ideal Homes founder and local philanthropist Gene McKown will be acting as the auctioneer for the gala’s live auction. The celebration will also have a social hour and silent auction featuring 75 items.
Items from the live and silent auction include trips to Antigua, Africa, Italy, and Costa Rica, artwork by local painter Tim Kenney and former Gov. Brad Henry, VIP tickets to the Ellen Degeneres Show, tickets to the College Football Playoff semifinal game featuring the Oklahoma Sooners and Alabama Crimson Tide in Miami, as well as jewelry, sports and other celebrity memorabilia.
More than $100,000 was raised at last year’s event, and Jarvis is hopeful that much will be raised this year, possibly even more.
“We want to raise as much money as possible,” she said. “Every dollar makes a difference.”
Jarvis said since the foundation’s inception, through year-round fundraising and an all-volunteer staff, it has donated over $1.4 million to Team Fox and the Michael J. Fox Foundation.
The foundation has also donated over $100,000 to the Parkinson Foundation of Oklahoma to fund services for Oklahomans affected by the disease. Services include education seminars, support groups, voice therapy, and exercise therapy including boxing and ballet specifically designed for people with Parkinson’s disease, Jarvis said.
She said every penny that is donated to the foundation is used to fund research and patient services; nothing is used to pay employees or expenses.
For more information about the Nicole Jarvis, M.D., Parkinson’s Research Foundation, visit jarvismdparkinsonsfoundation.org.