Monday, October 29, 2007

Thank God for Michael J. Fox

Ten years ago, on October 25, 1997, my beloved grandfather died. I can just now, occasionally, think of him without crying at the ache of missing him.

My grandfather had Parkinson's. He began to manifest symptoms in 1988, when this disease was woefully misunderstood and often misdiagnosed (muscle tremors, Alzheimer's), and effective treatments were not yet available (Benadryl).

In the past 20 years, diagnosis, understanding and treatment have improved exponentially. I have often said exactly what Fox talks about in this video -- "Thank God that Michael J. Fox and Muhammad Ali have Parkinson's," as their illness has raised awareness and funding for research. (Not that I would ever wish this illness on anyone, of course, but there is a silver lining to this tragedy.)

The best thing about Parkinson's is that we can cure it. Parkinson's is one of the strongest candidates for eradication with Stem Cell treatment. This is, of course, also the most frustrating thing, as stem cell research gets bogged down in political bullshit.

Parkinson's hijacks your body while leaving your mind intact. It's a prison. Please be alert to the symptoms, give what you can, and fight for stem cell research.

And give thanks to Michael J. Fox.

1 comment:

Nina said...

The family across the street from us had ten children, and their dad died of Parkinson's at 60. Such a sweet man and such a good dad, too. I am all for the Department of Cures. Parkinson's is a heartbreaker.