Congratulations to Marlene Kahan, recipient of the 2008 Alan Bonander Humanitarian Award

The Alan Bonander Humanitarian Award will be presented to Marlene Kahan of New York City, NY on Saturday, April 26, 2008 at the 14th Parkinson’s Unity Walk in Central Park.

When Marlene Kahan was told 3 years ago that she has young onset Parkinson’s disease, she said it felt like she got the wind knocked out of her. Her immediate reaction was a vision of a less than rosy future. The question she, and many people who find out they have a chronic disease ask is “why me?” Well that’s a question that really can’t be answered. After giving herself time to accept it rather than analyze it, Marlene decided she wouldn’t let what she now calls “an annoying health challenge” get her down.

Marlene, the woman who – as Executive Director of the American Society of Magazine Editors – “holds the magazine world in the palm of her hands,” basically lives by this mantra :

The Hand We Are Dealt
The Buddha's maps for the journey to wisdom and happiness are attractive to
many people because they are so simple. Essentially, he taught that it doesn't make
sense to upset ourselves about what is beyond our control. We don't get a choice about
what hand we are dealt in this life. The only choice we have is our attitude about the
cards we hold and the finesse with which we play our hand.

Positive spirit surrounds Marlene, whose optimism about her future gives her the strength and drive to do good and to make a difference.

Marlene has the chief editors from virtually every major American magazine (many of which have nothing to do with science or medicine) on her speed dial and they take her every call. She organized Team Mag Queen to take part in the 12th Parkinson’s Unity Walk, and has continued to grow her team each year. An amazing number of the publishing industry’s top brass contribute to Marlene’s team and many show up for the Walk. To date, she has raised over $145,000.

Then Marlene joined forces with Carol Walton, CEO of the New Jersey-based Parkinson Alliance, and Maryum ‘May May’ Ali, daughter of Muhammad, to develop a public service announcement that introduced Parkinson’s disease to the millions of Americans who are as yet unfamiliar with it. Again, Marlene put her publishing industry connections to play to initiate the “Punch Out Parkinson’s” campaign. The campaign was launched at an incredible media-star-studded event.

Not yet satisfied, Marlene followed up by getting placement commitments for the PSA, equal to over $45 million in advertising value, from some of the industry’s top publishers.

And she keeps going. Every disease seems to have a bracelet – why not Parkinson’s. Marlene commissioned her close friend Dave Stevenson to design a silver bracelet in her honor. The bracelet, which Marlene named “Inspiration,” has made the pages of a number of magazines. And the public is responding. Sales so far have been amazing, bringing about more awareness and dollars (Dave is donating net proceeds to Team Mag Queen).

What makes Marlene Kahan truly deserving of this award is not the connections that she has in the magazine industry, it is her tireless efforts to increase PD awareness and raise money for the research which will one day lead to a cure.

The Parkinson’s Unity Walk’s dream for the 2008 Walk is to raise $2,000,000. With Marlene Kahan on our side, we can see our dream coming true.