say it takes one to know one, and this couldn't be truer
in the arena of celebrity foundations. Some of the most
effective charities are those backed or formed by a
celebrity who has personally experienced a devastating
illness and is able to be an effective advocate for
research and funding. Michael J. Fox is a prime example
of this: He has used his traumatic ordeal with Parkinson's
disease to play a forceful role in waging war against
this debilitating illness.
Fox, an actor who has been battling Parkinson's most
of his adult life, established The Michael
J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research in May
2000, shortly after announcing his retirement from the
ABC show "Spin City." In 1998, he publicly
disclosed that he had been diagnosed with young-onset
Parkinson's disease seven years earlier.
One of Fox's main strategies in his foundation is
appearing before Congress on behalf of Parkinson's patients,
foregoing his medications that allow him some control
over his muscles and providing a shocking eye-opener
to the effects of the disease. Fox wholeheartedly believes
that if there is a concentrated effort from the Parkinson's
community, elected representatives in Washington, D.C.,
and, most importantly, the general public, researchers
will pinpoint the cause of Parkinson's and uncover a
cure by 2010.
Michael J. Fox hails from Burnaby, British Columbia.
Fox debuted as a professional actor at 15, and at 18
he went on to win the role of lovable conservative Alex
P. Keaton on NBC's enormously popular "Family Ties"
(1982-1989). During Fox's seven years on the show, he
earned three Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe, making
him one of the country's most prominent young actors.
Fox married his "Family Ties" co-star, actress
Tracy Pollan, in 1988. They have four children.
While maintaining a busy career in television, Fox became an international film star, appearing in more than a dozen features that showcased his keen ability to shift between comedy and drama.
Fox returned to series television in 1996 with ABC's "Spin City," portraying Michael Flaherty, New York's deputy mayor. He won critical praise, garnering three Golden Globe Awards, one Emmy Award, three Emmy nominations, a GQ Man-of-the-Year Award (in the TV comedy category), a People's Choice Award and two Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Though he maintains a strong commitment to his acting career and running the production company Lottery Hill Entertainment, Fox has shifted a good deal of his focus and energies toward The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research and its efforts to raise much-needed research funding for and awareness about Parkinson's disease.
foundation is dedicated to ensuring the development
of a cure for Parkinson's disease through an aggressively
funded research agenda. With more than $50 million funded
since November 2000, it certainly shows no signs of
backing down. It is the largest nonprofit funder of
Parkinson's research. Enormous progress toward finding
a cure has been made on many neurological fronts, and
scientists' understanding of the brain and how disease
affects it has increased dramatically. The foundation
seeks to hasten progress by awarding grants that help
guarantee new and innovative research avenues are thoroughly
funded and explored. It has supported more than 185
Parkinson's research projects in 12 countries.
The foundation's vision: "The Michael J. Fox Foundation
for Parkinson's Research is committed to the aggressive
pursuit of all ethical avenues of research promising
improved therapies and ultimately a cure for people
living with Parkinson's disease." The foundation
provides Parkinson's-related news through its website.
With more than 1 million Americans diagnosed with Parkinson’s,
there is a significant community of patients, family
members, caregivers and friends who all share scientists'
hope that a cure will be found in the next few years.
basic resources for and about this growing community.
Check out the foundation's website for further details
you can get involved in the fight against Parkinson's
disease. The foundation offers a variety of volunteer
community fund raisers. A financial
contribution made to the foundation directly supports
promising Parkinson's research and helps ensure that
new and innovative research avenues are thoroughly funded
and explored. The website also gives you the chance
to participate in a
that may be of interest to
you or a loved one. In addition, there is an excellent
section devoted to all kinds of information related
to Parkinson's disease.
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