Colorado Neurological Institute to Host ‘Spotlight on Hope’ Gala and Fundraiser on April 15

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by Patricia Silva, PhD |

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MS and neurological diseases

The Colorado Neurological Institute (CNI)a non-profit research and neurological care organization, will host the “Spotlight on Hope” gala and fundraising event on April 15, celebrating CNI patients, community leaders and physicians. The inaugural event, which combines the group’s Hope Awards and Gala, is part of CNI’s outreach efforts to advance public understanding of brain cancer, attacks like strokes or aneurysms, and neurological disorders like multiple sclerosis (MS), and to raise money for research and specialized care.

The gala, held in cooperation with Radiology Imaging Associates, will take place at the Ritz-Carlton in Denver, starting at 6 p.m., according to a press release.

For years, the CNI has recognized those in the community who give generously to support neuroscience research and discovery, and honored the courage of those living with neurological diseases and conditions. The “Spotlight on Hope” gala will continue this tradition with five Hope Award honorees.

Dr. Allen Bowling

Dr. Allen Bowling (Photo courtesy of CNI)

Two awards distinguish research work leading to better treatments and medical support. The awardee for Neuroscientist of the Year is Dr. Allen Bowling for evidence-based complementary, alternative and traditional treatments for MS. According to the CNI website, Dr. Bowling, an MS clinician, was nominated by his colleagues, and has published extensively in the area of complimentary and alternative MS treatments. He speaks internationally on the disease, and generously offers his time and resources to CNI, the National MS Society, and other organizations in the neuroscience community.

The Community Champion award recognizes the entire staff and administration of the Swedish Medical Center, a Denver hospital with extensive neurological services and stroke response teams that,  according to CNI, generously supports neurological disease foundations across the U.S., and is “a true community champion.”

Three patients will also receive Hope Awards for their bravery, and for the encouragement and hope they give to others.

Mandy and Matt Banks are recipients of the Exemplary Neuro Patient & Caregiver award. At age 28 and eights months pregnant with her first child, Mandy had a serious hemorrhagic stroke. After nearly a year of rehab at CNI, she is back at work and mothering her infant son. Together, the Banks  have raised over $50,000 for the American Heart Association.

Rick Schwartz, a former FOX sportscaster, will receive the Exemplary Neuro Patient award. Schwartz, who has Parkinson’s, is a board member of the Parkinson’s Disease of the Rockies, an active community speaker, and the creator of the statewide “Boxing for Parkinson’s” program.

Charlotte Varney

Charlotte Varney (Photo courtesy of CNI)

The “Anything Can Happen” Child Hope award recipient is 7-year old Charlotte Varney. Charlotte is a brain tumor patient who underwent numerous procedures and chemotherapy regiments over four years to reach her current “cancer free” status. One of five children, she and the entire Varney family have truly inspired others, and been models and mentors for families facing similar challenges.

CNI, with more than 70 physician and research associates, works to advance clinical trials into new treatments for MS, Parkinson’s and other neurological conditions. Its Vollbracht NeuroHealth Center offers patients care that includes physical, occupational and speech therapies, with the goal of optimizing neural function. The center also offers compensatory therapy strategies for patients to overcome deficits caused by their condition, such as walking devices for mobility, driving assessment, counseling, chronic disease management programs, and support groups.