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, residents have the opportunity to join the family community 5Kwalk March 2, from 9 a.m.-noon at 1799 Woodland Hills Drive, across from Kingwood United Methodist Church.
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 2018 raised more than $10 million. His passion for research has resulted in over $100 million in funded research in 2017. The foundation reports that 89 cents of every dollar donated goes to research 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 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 the 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.