Jayne Macdonald , ADEPT Mactodd Charitable Trust

Queenstown's ADEPT Mactodd Charitable Trust has committed to invest in an OMRF's Annual Grant research project for each of the next 10 years.

Originally set up with funds from philanthropist David Swiffen in 1979, the ADEPT Mactodd Charitable Trust is now a substantial investment portfolio administered by Mactodd Lawyers in Queenstown.

Its objectives are to support work that improves lives of the elderly, and Mactodd partner Jayne Macdonald says working with the OMRF has provided the charity with a good opportunity. "Supporting health research gives us a stake in building knowledge that will answer vital questions about major diseases that affect our elderly."

"For us, it's really thinking about the future; slowing down diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's and helping to develop prevention medicine will make lives better. It will ultimately improve the wellbeing of those enjoying retirement, and everyone benefits - here and in the rest of the world. And we know we are helping our parents and grandparents – those who are important to us."

"But not only is it taking steps towards tackling big disease problems, our investment in the OMRF means the work is happening right here in Otago, and that's also really positive. It's investment in the local community, in our hospital and University.

"And we're fortunate to get to meet and be updated about the researcher and the students they support – it’s great to see the fruits of the labour."

The researcher for the first project the Trust has invested in is Professor John Reynolds, University of Otago Brain Health Centre – he is looking at Parkinson's biomarkers.

Parkinson's disease is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement and develops in older age.  There is currently no cure, but research is focusing on genetic factors to better understand how it affects the brain - to improve treatments and ultimately prevention. 

"It is research that is very much work in progress, but we are helping it advance. And that is a significant thing from our perspective – it’s a good fit for our charity," Jayne said.