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High school senior delivers gift to support IU Parkinson's Disease Center of Excellence

Teen honors grandmother with fundraisers for Parkinsons research

Department of Neurology faculty Joanne Wojcieszek, MD, (left) and Elizabeth Zauber, MD, accept gift from Hanah Wolf on behalf of her grandmother.

Hanah Wolf witnessed firsthand how Parkinson’s disease changes a person when her 63-year-old grandmother began showing signs of the disease and could no longer do normal tasks. It was then that the 17-year-old Williamsport, IN, resident decided she wanted to do something to make her grandmother happy.

Hanah fulfilled her goal by delivering a check in the amount of $2,111.91 to IU School of Medicine Parkinson’s Disease Center of Excellence in honor of her grandmother, Pamela Switzer, a patient at the Center.

“I like knowing the money is going to a place that has helped my grandmother so much on a personal basis,” Hanah said. “The disease really changed my grandma before she got Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery [at IU]. She couldn’t drive or come watch me cheer, and she was a different person.”

Hanah originally planned to do “something small” but after learning more about the disease, she got excited about doing more.

“I realized how much research still needs to be done,” she said.

“When we first heard about Hanah’s efforts we were touched and appreciative of her hard work and desire to contribute to the PD Community,” said Lynssi Shanklin, Center Coordinator and Social Worker. “The fact that she chose to donate the funds to our center is an honor. The funds will go towards the center’s continued work in PD research, care, and support.”

During the past year, Hanah organized 50/50 raffles at her Seeger Memorial High School’s home basketball and football games and hosted pocket change collections. Students at Seeger Elementary School helped by challenging each other in Penny Wars to see which grade could fill their buckets with the most money. And George Hardebeck, who hosts a 98.1 GOLD WIBN radio show for a rival high school, interviewed Hanah several times. Each time he gave $100.

Hanah’s philanthropic spirit doesn’t just support Parkinson’s disease. She’s also collected 300 shoes for a local domestic violence shelter as well as more than 2,690 medicine bottles for Mathew 25 Ministries, an organization that sends pill bottles to other countries without the resources to make their own pill bottles.

After graduation, Hanah hopes to attend IU to pursue her love for chemistry. For now, however, she is grateful to those who have supported her fundraising efforts along the way, including Davis Drugs in Attica, IN, George Hardebeck at 98.1 GOLD WIBN, Seeger Memorial schools, and her loving family.

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.
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Glenda Shaw

Glenda is the Communications Specialist for the Accreditation and Continuous Improvement team. A journalism graduate of Howard University, she has worked in publishing and communications for more than 20 years. Glenda can be reached at