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Drive Around the World Nets $29K at Parkinson’s Institute Fundraiser
James Bond tuxedos and sparkling jewelry are the order of the evening

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., (October 18, 2003) -“We’ll start the bidding at ten thousand dollars.”

The gentleman across the ballroom with his paddle in the air had just gone bid-for-bid with the distinguished, gray gentleman seated at the adjoining table, each battling over a very expensive bottle of wine. Now he was bidding on two ride-along seats for the Costa Rica leg of the LONGITUDE Expedition. His tuxedo, clearly, was not rented.

The LONGITUDE team was taken aback at the benevolence, spirit, and class displayed at the Parkinson’s Institute’s annual Black Tie Fundraising event, held this year at the Fairmont Hotel’s Grand Ballroom in downtown San Francisco. The gala raised more than $1,065,000 for Parkinson’s research, with 29 thousand of that bid by Drive Around the World supporters alone.

LONGITUDE team member and two-time Drive Around the World veteran Todd Borgie gave a short speech on behalf of the team, and the bidding was opened soon thereafter. When the auctioneer asked for pledge dollars per kilometer of travel, a sea of paddles erupted all around the room, and the bidding went on for more than ten minutes.

“It proved the drive-a-thon fundraising model, and it proved the take me with you program’s viability. It was beautiful to see a year’s worth of planning come to fruition in such a tangible and meaningful way. It was a tremendously validating moment,” said Nick Baggarly, expedition leader and Drive Around the World founder.

One of the LONGITUDE expedition vehicles, a certified, pre-owned Land Rover Discovery, was parked inside of the ballroom at the Fairmont, where the dinner guests gathered to gawk at the Hannibal roof-top tent, rack-mounted Santa Cruz mountain bike, and other savory vehicle features. The most-asked questions were, “Where are you going?” and “How can I join you?”

The first question was easily answered by the route map plastered to the hood of the Land Rover; the second question was answered during the auctioning of the “Take Me With You!” segment. One opportunity to join the team on the road was won by the highest bidder, but guests learned that influential supporters are welcome to join LONGITUDE for any one of the weeklong segments posted on the organization’s homepage at .

“Michael J. Fox came up to me and expressed an interest in himself and his son joining us for the British Columbia portion of our expedition,” said Justin Mounts, expedition team member. Celebrity and big-name guests will help draw more public interest in the project and the search for a cure.

Fox, as the guest of honor, recognized Dr. William Langston for all that he has done and continues to do to find a cure for Parkinson’s. Special recognition was also presented to The William Draper Family, Rolf Ostern, Irwin and Betty Helford, The Weather Channel, Nathan Slewett, Joan Samuelson, Medtronic Corporation and The Abrahmson Foundation.

“The gala was a great build-up to our impending departure. We raised nearly 30 thousand dollars Saturday night, and we haven’t even left yet,” said Baggarly.

Established in 2002, with headquarters in Los Gatos California, Drive Around the World is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that seeks to inspire a sense of adventure and the tradition of exploration, encouraging people to actively learn about our world and creatively act to understand the humanitarian and environmental problems we face.

Drive Around the World press releases and electronic photos of the LONGITUDE expedition are available on-line in the pressroom section of

Parkinson's Research Fundraiser Guests of the Parkinson's Institute's black tie fundraising gala gather in the Grand Ballroom of the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco Oct. 18.

>Parkinson's Research Fundraiser A Drive Around the World vehicle provides a rugged contrast to the tuxedos and jewels at the Parkinson's Institute's black tie fundraising gala at the San Francisco Fairmont Hotel's Grand Ballroom Oct. 18.

Drive Around the World Looking Good The LONGITUDE Expedition team poses for a group photo in front of their certified, pre-owned Land Rover Discovery vehicle. (L-R) Educators Chris Hauk and Mary Homa, and traveling team members Todd Borgie, Colin McAuliffe, Chanda Baggarly, Rolf Potts, Nick Baggarly, Adam Burgess, Nancy Olson, Neil Dana, and Justin Mounts.

Drive Around the World meets Michael J. Fox LONGITUDE Expedition leader Nick Baggarly (in glasses) speaks to Michael J. Fox about the Parkinson's Drive-A-Thon while team members Justin Mounts (right) and Adam Burgess (rear) look on.