Sunflower Revolution Founder Kathy Krumme, Our Health Care Hero

Krumme receives award.

Kathy Krumme flashes a winning smile at the Health Care Heroes banquet at the Hyatt Regency Cincinnati. Photo by Cindy Starr/Mayfield Clinic.

Kathleen Krumme, founder of the Sunflower Revolution, which has touched the lives of thousands of people who confront Parkinson’s disease, won the Business Courier’s Health Care Heroes award in the community outreach category Thursday night at the Hyatt Regency Cincinnati downtown.

Ms. Krumme was nominated by John M. Tew, MD, Clinical Director of the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute, a neurosurgeon with the Mayfield Clinic, and a Business Courier Lifetime Health Care Hero.

The Sunflower Revolution has raised more than $1.5 million for Parkinson’s disease research and wellness at the James J. and Joan A. Gardner Family Center for Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders at UCNI since 2004.

The event owes its existence to Ms. Krumme, a Cincinnati cyclist and manager at Oakley Cycles who had an idea, took a financial risk, and ignited a cause. Ms. Krumme wanted to hold a small fundraising dinner in honor of her father, who suffered from Parkinson’s disease, and to help Davis Phinney, the Tour de France cyclist who was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s at age 40. With a small amount of seed money, Ms. Krumme plunged in, signing a hotel contract and praying that she would bring in enough donors to pay for the inaugural Sunflower Revolution dinner and bike ride – which she named for the signature flowers of the Tour de France and the hoped-for revolution in Parkinson’s treatments. Assisting her at every turn with support and fundraising creativity was her husband, David Ariosa.

Fueled by Ms. Krumme’s passion, the UCNI physician-researchers, Davis Phinney, and the cycling community, the region embraced its first major Parkinson’s event, and the Sunflower hit the ground running. Its success helped UCNI attract a major Parkinson’s donor, whose $5.5 million gift in 2007 established the Gardner Center. And the research it funded helped UCNI earn a coveted national Udall Center designation this year. The 2010 Sunflower Revolution weekend, which includes a free symposium for patients and caregivers, is scheduled for September 10-12.

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