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First CEO role, neuroscientist to charity leader, Daniel McGowan

Updated: Feb 22

Welcoming Daniel McGowan to Purposely, where he shares his organisation's mission and his career journey from research fellow to charity CEO.

Daniel's extensive experience as a neuroscientist, health writer and editor, and company director make him the ideal leader for Cure Parkinson's NZ. As CEO, he is on a mission to cure Parkinson's disease and drive significant advancements in translational research for early diagnosis and disease progression prevention.

Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurodegenerative condition that affects various neurological functions. Cure Parkinson's NZ is dedicated to raising and disbursing funding to accelerate research leading to new therapies that can stop or slow progression.

The history of the charity is rooted in the personal experience of its founder, Bernie Crosby, ONZM, and his wife Kaye Crosby, also ONZM. After Bernie's diagnosis with Parkinson's, they established the Neuro Research Charitable Trust (still the official name of the charity) to raise one million dollars for Parkinson's research. Bernie's positive mindset and determination have transformed his diagnosis setbacks into opportunities to support others.

In 2005, Bernie received his Parkinson's diagnosis. In 2010, Bernie and Kaye crossed paths with Dr. Maurice Curtis of the Centre for Brain Research (CBR) at the University of Auckland. Driven by his passion and energy for understanding the brain and its disorders, Bernie decided to raise funds for the CBR. In 2013, the Neuro Research Charitable Trust was established with the goal of raising one million dollars in five years. By the end of 2022, the Trust had successfully raised $2.3 million dollars to support CBR research.

Prior to founding the trust, Bernie and Kaye built Prolife Foods into one of New Zealand's largest privately owned food businesses. Their commitment to fostering strong relationships and their support for numerous educational and recreational grants have left a lasting impact on the Hamilton community. In recognition of their contributions, they were both awarded an ONZM in 2014 for their services to business and philanthropy.

Bernie and Kaye remain dedicated to ongoing fundraising efforts to support research towards finding a cure for Parkinson's disease. In late 2022, the Neuro Research Charitable Trust made the strategic decision to hire a full-time CEO to drive fundraising and research initiatives, leading to the rebranding of the organization as Cure Parkinson's NZ. Daniel McGowan assumed the role of CEO, bringing with him the expertise and vision needed to propel the charity's future work and fundraising efforts.

Parkinson's disease is the fastest-growing neurological condition globally, and its prevalence is projected to double in the next 10-15 years. While current treatments provide symptom relief, a cure remains elusive. However, promising drug candidates and advancements in early diagnosis offer hope. Thorough research is crucial to ensure that the right treatments are administered at the right time to improve patient outcomes.

Daniel and the organisation he leads are dedicated to shaping and fuelling research leading to disease-modifying treatments; namely, treatments that can slow, stop, or perhaps even reverse the progression of Parkinson's.

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