WA’s Impact Awards to Fund Huntington’s Disease ‘Game Changer’
23 November 2016 at 2:40 pm
A $100,000 grant from collective giving group, Impact100 WA, to advocacy and research organisation Huntington’s WA will be used to develop an online app to improve the outlook for those suffering from the incurable brain disorder.
Impact100 WA described the app project as game changing. The impact funds are part of grants totalling a record $230,000.
The app will deliver physical and cognitive exercises to improve the outlook for those suffering from, or fated to develop, the incurable and untreatable Huntington’s disease.
Huntington’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that causes uncontrolled movements, emotional problems, and loss of thinking ability (cognition).
“This [app] will have genuine potential for worldwide application and may be able to assist those with other degenerative brain diseases, as well,” Impact100 WA spokesperson Sophie Chamberlain said.
“Huntington’s WA, will now be able to bring hope where before there was none.”
Huntington’s WA executive director Rae Walter told Pro Bono Australia News the grant to develop an app was indeed a chance to improve the lives of people with Huntington’s disease and for those who have the genetic markers for contracting the disease later in life.
Walter said two major research projects that the charity has funded have shown the first clinical evidence of the improvement to brain volume and cognitive behaviour from increased physical and mental activity.
“What we found from those results was totally amazing,” Walter said.
“The app will give people the information on how to keep well for as long as possible.”
She said the app was still in the developmental stage and by this time next year the charity hoped to roll it out.
“We are really, really excited and [the app] is an important part of a first phase of getting this research available not only in Western Australia but worldwide.”
A second $100,000 grant went to Sensorium Theatre that assists hundreds of children with special needs every year.
The grant will kickstart their Sensory Storytime program and allow the not-for-profit organisation to employ artists full time and fund a program coordinator with the aim of long-term sustainability.
The Impact100 model was adopted from the US. At least 100 members each donate $1,000 to be pooled as high impact grants.
Impact100 WA started in 2012 and has since enabled the distribution of over $1 million in grants to 18 smaller, local not-for-profit organisations. Five additional Impact100s have since been established, in Fremantle, Melbourne, South Australia, Sydney and North Sydney.
Barking Gecko Theatre Company, Birdlife WA and Teach Learn Grow each received $10,000 in the Impact100 WA pitching round.