Michael J. Fox became globally famous after starring as Marty McFly in Back to the Future in 1985. Six years later, aged 29, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
Since then, Fox—who is now 60 years old—has helped raise over $1.5 billion to help find a cure for the progressive nervous system disorder.
As the world’s largest nonprofit funder of Parkinson’s research, The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to accelerating a cure for Parkinson’s disease and improved therapies for those living with the condition—which affects an estimated seven to ten million people worldwide.
The Canadian actor told Variety that these therapies have already helped huge numbers of people, including himself. He said, “I enjoy life more. I’m more comfortable in my skin than I was 20 years ago. I can sit down and be calm. I couldn’t do that 25 years ago. That’s the medications, the drug cocktails and therapies that we’ve been a part of.”
At Saturday night’s fundraising gala on October 23, hosted by Denis Leary at New York City’s Jazz at the Lincoln Center, Fox performed alongside Sting. And there were many more famous faces—from actress Julianne Moore to director Spike Lee—in attendance at the A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Cure Parkinson’s gala.
The Michael J. Fox Foundation pursues its goals through a highly targeted research program coupled with active global engagement of scientists, Parkinson’s patients, business leaders, clinical trial participants, donors, and volunteers.
Funding over $1.5 billion in research so far, the non-profit has fundamentally altered the trajectory of progress toward a cure.
Fox recently told Variety of his hope that biomarkers will be the next big stop towards treating and perhaps even preventing the disease.
“If we can find ways to identify the condition before it’s evident, if we could take a piece of hair and find it, then we could treat it prophylactically and then maybe you don’t get it,” he explained.
One thing Fox is sure of: He says he won’t stop fighting until there’s a cure.