Founded by Monte and Susan Lake after their daughter was diagnosed with spinocerebellar ataxia 17, or SCA 17, the MINDlink Foundation was created as a means of generating support for Dr. Schmahmann's vital research on the cerebellum at the Laboratory for Neuroanatomy and Cerebellar Neurobiology at Massachusetts General Hospital to help find cures for the more than six million Americans who suffer from neurological diseases such as ataxia, Alzheimer's, autism, depression and schizophrenia, epilepsy, Huntington's, and Parkinson's.

"Stricken with the crippling effects of this cerebellar-based progressive disease at age 20, losing the ability to speak, and rapidly degenerating from physical normality to a wheel chair by the age of 24, Catie's experience inspired us to establish the MINDlink Foundation," reads the MINDlink Foundation Web site statement given by the Lakes. "Through it, we seek your help in supporting research that will benefit her and millions of others who have neurological disorders with a cerebellar component."

According to the MINDlink Web site, neurodegenerative diseases affect millions of Americans and their families and the emotional, social and financial impact is overwhelming. The cost to society is measured in billions of dollars. This toll will increase exponentially as the incidence of neurodegenerative disorders grows with the aging baby boomer generation. Novel treatments and cures must be discovered before these diseases cripple our health care system.

SOURCE MINDlink Foundation