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Mark Burek goes to Washington

Excerpt from Congressman Paul Tonko press release below:


One of the issues on which I’ve been working tirelessly to advance new legislation is Parkinson’s disease — the second most common and fastest-growing neurological disease. As part of that effort, I was thrilled in December to celebrate House passage of my National Plan to End Parkinson’s Act. Modeled on the successful National Alzheimer’s Project, this legislation will unite the federal government in a mission to cure and prevent Parkinson’s and alleviate the financial and health burdens the disease places on American families. As I watched the House advance our bipartisan bill by an overwhelming margin of 407-9, I was profoundly honored to stand alongside advocates like my friend and colleague Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton, who is fighting her own courageous battle against a similar disease that she describes as “Parkinson’s on steroids.” Now, with House passage secured, I’m turning my efforts to making certain this pioneering legislation passes the Senate and reaches President Biden’s desk.



To drive home the importance of this bill, I was proud this week to invite Mark Burek to Washington as my guest for the State of the Union address. After serving in the Navy for 21 years, retiring as a Senior Chief, Mark went on to work as a postal carrier delivering mail on foot. When he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2007 at the age of 49, the news came as a shock. As he sought out resources and answers, Mark found that the Capital Region had no fitness resources or services dedicated to the Parkinson’s community. So Mark, an avid runner, set out to create them himself.

In 2011, Mark founded Parkinson’s Albany, which later became Hope Soars. For 13 years, Mark and his wife Ann have joined with local patients and advocates to raise awareness, support research, and inspire the Parkinson’s community to live fuller and healthier lives. Through his years of dedicated advocacy and through his own battle against Parkinson’s, Mark has come to acutely understand the pressing need to bring targeted federal resources to the national fight against this devastating disease. Today and every day, I am so grateful to have Mark and his organization as partners in this ongoing work.

At its core, this effort is about delivering a dose of hope to those who need it most. With nearly 90,000 new cases diagnosed each year, we cannot afford to wait a moment longer to take action on behalf of those living with Parkinson’s and their loved ones. Each day missed is another dark and uncertain diagnosis, another loss for a family and a community. With that urgency in mind, I urge the Senate to take up this bill immediately and join us in our pursuit of hope.

As always, thank you for reading.

Your friend,

Paul Tonko


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