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The Globe and Mail

Parkinson’s fight is personal for Toronto pair

Harry McMurtry is organizing Shake It Up, an event to raise money for Parkinson’s research and treatment.

Matthew Sherwood/The Globe and Mail

The Donors: Bill Holland and Harry McMurtry

The Gift: Raising more than $100,000

The Cause: Toronto Western Hospital

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The Reason: To finance research into Parkinson's disease

Toronto businessman Bill Holland gets a lot of requests for donations but one recent approach stood out.

Mr. Holland met Harry McMurtry and singer Tom Cochrane who were organizing a concert to raise money for research into Parkinson's disease at Toronto Western Hospital.

Mr. Holland, executive chairman of CI Financial Corp., had never met either man but he was immediately impressed by their project.

Mr. McMurtry, son of former Ontario attorney-general Roy McMurtry, was diagnosed with Parkinson's 11 years ago and Mr. Cochrane's father had the disease as well. Mr. Holland's father, John, has also been living with Parkinson's for 25 years and he was treated at Toronto Western.

"I have kind of a little bit of a pile on my desk of things that people have asked me to take a look at, and for the most part I kind of have to put things in the pile, but this was something that immediately grabbed my attention," Mr. Holland recalled.

The concert, called Shake It Up for Parkinson's, will be held Sept. 6 at the Capitol Event Theatre in Toronto (The Globe and Mail is a sponsor).

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Mr. McMurtry, 51, is hoping to raise $100,000 and Mr. Holland has agreed to match all donations.

"Those who are in a position to make a difference have a duty to do so," said Mr. McMurtry, who had to give up his law career because of the disease. "I have time, some energy, and a lot of motivation."

pwaldie@globeandmail.com

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