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Congratulations to Bill Wilkins, recipient of the 2015 Alan Bonander Humanitarian Award

Bill Wilkins’ background in media & advertising began in 1960 in Los Angeles. He held key executive positions in Las Vegas and nationally with Donrey Media.  In 1980 he joined the Institute of Outdoor Advertising (IOA) in Chicago and a year later became the first President of the IOA in New York City to come from within the industry itself. He founded Wilkins Media Company in Atlanta in 1987, and in 25 years grew the business to become the oldest, largest independent out-of-home media specialist in the country.

Diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2006, Wilkins turned activist in the fight against Parkinson’s by becoming involved locally with the Atlanta chapter of APDA, and nationally with the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF). He has also supported the Parkinson’s Unity Walk annually since 2009 by negotiating discounted media programs on the Walk’s behalf.  When asked why supporting PUW is meaningful to him, Wilkins said, “The Unity Walk provides PD patients, family, and friends the opportunity to participate in a demonstration of togetherness while raising millions of dollars for research.  I believe unity and collaboration are priorities in accelerating research for living with PD and an eventual cure.  That has made it an easy decision to do what I can to help.”

The formation of Wilkins Parkinson’s Foundation in 2010 was a natural transition to expand the awareness of Parkinson’s with the intent of increasing contributions to Parkinson’s research funding.  WPF is dedicated to accelerating the cure and treatment of Parkinson’s disease.  Its strategies include directing funds to research, education and awareness, working to increase collaboration between other PD nonprofits, and advocating on behalf of the entire Parkinson’s community.  

Wilkins is a charter member of the Michael J. Fox Foundation’s Patient Council and has also been appointed a charter member of Emory University’s Udall Parkinson’s Disease Research Center’s Community Outreach Board.  He was selected as the recipient of the Wesley Woods Foundation’s prestigious “Key to the Cure” award, which was presented at the “Heroes, Saints and Legends” gala in 2012.

Wilkins has made a real difference in the PD community by bringing an unbeatable enthusiasm and positive attitude to the fight against PD. He has inspired many other people to join the cause, and is a strong advocate for collaboration between all members of the Parkinson’s community.  Together with fundraising partner Team Cantore, Wilkins Parkinson’s Foundation has raised over $1.3 million for Parkinson’s research and awareness.

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