Michael J. Fox Honored with Catalyst Award for Parkinson’s Research Efforts

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Esteemed actor and humanitarian, Michael J. Fox was recently named the recipient of this year’s Elevate Prize Catalyst Award. Known internationally for his role in “Back to the Future”, Fox intends to leverage this recognition to further support his foundation’s mission in finding treatments for Parkinson’s disease.

Diagnosed at the young age of 29 in 1991, Fox accepted this honour at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) conference, hosted in New York. The prestigious award previously presented to Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai comprises a quarter-million-dollar donation from the Elevate Prize Foundation, as well as guidance on strengthening the recipient’s outreach.

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Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who engaged Fox in an onstage dialogue at CGI, attributed significant strides in Parkinson’s research to Fox’s efforts. He has played a major role in bringing this progressive nervous system disorder into the spotlight, she observed.

Emphasizing his steadfast conviction, Fox expounded on his decision to publicize his Parkinson’s diagnosis, acknowledging the unfortunate stigma attached to the disease. He stressed the importance of continuously striving for progress, be it in global peace, climate change or disease management.

Former President Bill Clinton expressed his admiration for Fox’s courage and resilience, while Joseph Deitch, founder of The Elevate Prize Foundation, praised him as a beacon of goodness while presenting him with the award.

Echoing these sentiments, Carolina Garcia Jayaram, CEO of the Elevate Prize Foundation, emphasized Fox’s significant role as an ambassador for Parkinson’s. Noting him as a true embodiment of the CGI theme “Keep Going”, she referred to Fox as the perfect harbinger for change. The impressive sum of over two billion dollars raised by Fox’s foundation since its inception in 2000, she said, has greatly contributed to a fuller understanding of Parkison’s disease.

Expressing deep appreciation for Fox’s inspiring journey, Garcia Jayaram highlighted his willingness to share such a deeply personal struggle, particularly given his public persona.

Deborah Brooks, co-founder and CEO of the Michael J. Fox Foundation, acknowledged the importance of the award in this critical moment for their not-for-profit organization. Drawing attention to the recent breakthrough in identifying a Parkinson’s disease biomarker, Brooks affirmed Fox’s intention to use this award to amplify his impact, enhance awareness, and garner support.

Brooks emphasized their commitment to helping patients and families feel like a part of the solution, referencing their initiative, the Fox Trial Finder, which links patients to potential testing programs. Their primary aim, she concluded, is to bolster their pace in furthering the most promising developments in neuroscience today.