Michael J. Fox on Raising $1 Billion to Help Find Parkinson’s Cure: ‘I Won’t Stop Until It Happens’

About 40 years ago, when Michael J. Fox immigrated to the United States from his home Canada, his only concern was becoming an actor and, at the very least, securing some commercial work.

In 1980, he secured a McDonald’s ad. Later, he gained notoriety as Alex P. Keaton on “Family Ties” and gained popularity at the box office with movies like “Back to the Future.” Fox has won two SAG Awards, two Golden Globes, and five Emmy Awards throughout his four decades in the entertainment industry.
But he was told he had Parkinson’s disease in 1991, when he was 29 years old. He established the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research to provide funding for research into treatments and cures two years after making his diagnosis public. Since then, the charity has raised more than $1 billion.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Cure Parkinson’s, Fox’s annual fundraising event, will take place on October 23 in honor of the foundation’s 20th anniversary. The epidemic forced the postponement of the milestone event, which was initially scheduled for last year.

The event, which will be hosted by Denis Leary and feature performances by Mike Birbiglia, Michelle Buteau, Lisa Fischer, Brad Paisley, and Sting, will take place at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. When asked about his early days in Hollywood, the now-60-year-old Fox says, “All I wanted to do was book that McDonalds commercial.” “I had no idea that I would be looking for a Parkinson’s treatment.”
Fox informs me that while a cure might not be imminent, the organization actively participated in the creation of a number of treatments. Many people’s lives have improved thanks to these medicines, he claims. “I take greater pleasure in life. Compared to 20 years ago, I feel more at ease in my own flesh. I’m able to relax and sit down. In 25 years, I couldn’t have done it. That includes the drugs, prescription combinations, and treatments we have experience with.

Additionally, the group has enhanced communication between patients, the medical community, and the academic world. Deborah W. Brooks, CEO and co-founder of the foundation, is credited with much of Fox’s success. He remarks, “She’s absolutely wonderful.
Fox believes that using biomarkers will be the next significant development in treating and perhaps even preventing the illness. If we can remove a bit of hair and locate the problem before it becomes obvious, we could treat it prophylactically and perhaps prevent you from getting it, he adds. “How we have inspired this community is what I am most proud of. Things can be accomplished.
In regards to finding a cure, he states, “I simply want to get this done.” “I will see this through. I’m not going to quit until it does.

Fox was preparing to fly to Las Vegas to see the boxing battle between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder when I met with him. Then he was heading to Canada for the first time since the epidemic to see his 92-year-old mother. Fox declares, “I feel terrific.” “I cherish life. Being a part of something so significant and essential is wonderful.

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