Tom Isaacs, co-founder and president of The Cure Parkinson’s Trust, passed away unexpectedly on 31 May at the age of 49. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at the age of 27 in 1996 and co-founded The Cure Parkinson’s Trust in 2005 (for full article see Parkinsonslife Tom Isaacs and for Jon Palfreman’s description of this inspirational man see cureparkinsons news )
Lionel Paulo, Chair of the East Midlands RSN, spoke for all of us when he paid this tribute to Tom:
“I knew of Tom Isaacs by reputation only and what a formidable reputation it was! Perhaps like me, others reading the news knew ‘of’ Tom (rather than knowing him personally) and now feel that poignant moment, that realisation that we have so many researchers out there innovating and so many big pharma working individually or as conglomerates that we have passed the starting line for a real cure or control. Now the real race is on to find new treatments that will blow away this neurological Niflheim and let the sunshine back in to many a tortured mind – and Tom helped make it all happen.
It is sad because people like Tom are very few and far between – if not for him The Parkinson’s Disease Society may have remained a pessimistic bystander, observing the disease but not actually doing anything about it. Tom saw to it that plenty of funds flowed in and plenty flowed out to scientists who needed the money to take the fight to Parkinson’s instead of merely watching it chew good people’s potentials away. I think (not totally sure) the GDNF trials that are still being worked on were his latest source of interest and the jury is out on whether it is or is not going to work out. I think Tom would have viewed it the way Edison (supposedly) explained that the light bulb was an exercise in persistence, trying out more than 1,000 filaments until it worked. Edison said every failure was one more thing that was no good out of the way putting him one step nearer to success. Likewise, Tom would just keep moving forward until eventually what he was looking for came to pass.
The real tragedy losing Tom now is that he was the foundation stone and here we are closing in on the upper stories and he did not live to see the pinnacle located and installed.
Simon Stott said today’s generation will be the last that have to live with (the consequences of) Parkinson’s. I think he will be proven right- and I thank Tom Isaacs for helping to make it possible.”