In 2017, a local couple, Jim and Diana Rutherford, organized the first Kingwood “Team Fox” Parkinson’s fundraiser, a 3.1 mile walk, inspired by Diana’s own personal battle with Parkinson’s. Last year’s walk raised more than $22,000. This year, join the family community 5Kwalk on March 3 from 9 a.m.-noon based at 1799 Woodland Hills Dr. across from Kingwood United Methodist Church. Individual walker’s registration is $35 and families can register two adults and their children for only $50.
Team Fox events are the more than 4,200 local fundraisers for Parkinson’s disease in support of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, which in 2016 raised more than $10 million. His passion for research has resulted in over $90 million in funded research. The foundation reports that 89 cents of every dollar donated goes to research. Eight percent of the total goes to fundraising and only three percent to administration.
In 1991, Fox, a young 30-year-old international film star, had his world turned upside down when he was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s disease. For seven years he hid his affliction from the public, but in 1998, he went public, retiring on the 100th episode of his successful TV series, “Spin City.” Later that same year, he launched his foundation. Today, that foundation is the largest nonprofit funder of Parkinson’s drug development in the world.
While Fox returned to acting, both on TV and in film, his greatest passion is finding a cure for this cruel disease that strikes both young and old. Parkinson’s disease is a chronic, degenerative neurological disorder that affects one in 100 people over 60, but some are diagnosed as early as 40. More than five million people around the world have Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s causes the loss of brain cells which produce dopamine resulting in a disruption of signals which coordinate movement. For the patient, that results in loss of control of movement. While the exact cause is unknown, it is suspected that genes may play a role as well as possible exposure to certain chemical toxins.