Michael J. Fox is not your average actor. His talent and efforts go far beyond those of a movie or television show. After receiving a Parkinson’s diagnosis, Fox struggled with the reality that he was faced with and once he publically announced his condition in 1998 he made it his personal mission in life to make a difference for those also suffering.
He organized The Michael J. Fox Foundation to help advance every promising research path to curing Parkinson’s disease. Fox realized that Parkinson’s went further than his diagnosis therefore, he took actions into his own hands by raising money to fund the research necessary to getting an answer. Later Fox penned his first book in hope of inspiring others that also suffered from Parkinson’s. He went a step further and voiced a testimony before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee in 1999 with hopes that his physical testimony would change the course and funding of research. In his book he wrote, “I had made a deliberate choice to appear before the subcommittee without medication. It seemed to me that this occasion demanded that my testimony about the effects of the disease, and the urgency we as a community were feeling, be seen as well as heard. For people who had never observed me in this kind of shape, the transformation must have been startling.” Fox went on to write another book and appear on several campaigns that support Parkinson’s research.
The Michael J. Fox Foundation provides support and advice to Parkinson’s sufferers and their families. As of 2015, the foundation is the largest non-profit funder of Parkinson’s research worldwide – and has funded more than $450 million to speed a cure for Parkinson’s disease. In addition, with over a million social media followers Fox’s foundation documents their every day actions and efforts towards the fight for a cure. Between the foundation participants and social media community, the message is being heard.
Fox also partnered with Bystander Revolution. The organization is spreading the message of anti-bullying and has teamed with many other Hollywood super stars and notable figures to take the power out of bullying. In addition to promoting Bystander Revolution’s message, Fox has also donated his time and funds to assisting further anti-bullying efforts be made in public school systems through education and counseling.
Instead of hiding behind the diagnosis, Fox has chosen to shed his insecurities and be the change. In an interview with Letterman this year Fox commented on his revelation by saying, “…once you accept it and you learn about it and you realize you’re part of a community and you realize you’re in a position to do something and to make a difference and to help...”