by Zoe Frost
There was a time when you couldn't watch a movie or turn on the TV without seeing Michael J. Fox. We knew him as Alex P. Keaton on Family Ties and then as Marty McFly from the time-traveling adventures of Back to the Future. It was a gradual progression, but eventually, many of us wondered why someone with such a bright future and talent was no longer in the spotlight.
It wouldn't be for several years after his diagnosis until Michael J. Fox would share with the world he was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson's disease. It was at this time in 1998 that he committed himself to campaigning for Parkinson's research. Two years later in 2000, he announced his retirement from the popular show "Spin City." His priorities had shifted entirely to his new commitment and later that year he launched the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. The Foundation has been hailed as "the most credible voice on Parkinson's research in the world" by the New York Times. To date, the foundation has raised over $1 billion to fund Parkinson's drug development and has guided the search for a cure. Most notably Michael J Fox tirelessly works as a patient advocate.
The Michael J. Fox Foundation leads the charge toward a world without Parkinson's disease. Since the Foundation's inception, they have operated with one single-minded goal: putting themselves out of business by finding the cure for Parkinson's. Everything the Michael J. Fox Foundation does is in service of its mission to eradicate Parkinson's.
The programs funded by the Foundation have resulted in more than 20 early-stage therapeutic programs, and more than 15 interventions are in clinical trials. Fox Insight, an online clinical study, has allowed people with Parkinson's and their families to take an active role by sharing their experience of the disease. Since the launch in 2017, more than 48,000 individuals have added their voices to power this impactful research.
Michael J Fox faces all his challenges, even those involving his Parkinson's, with optimism and humor. He has written and spoken on this many times and his message has always been filled with thankfulness for the hope, support, and encouragement he has received from his fellow Parkinson's patients.
To learn more about The Michael J Fox Foundation, its programs, community outreach, grants and research you can visit www.michaeljfox.org.