Longtime friends of MJFF Debby and Lou Flancbaum of Teaneck, NJ have been championing Team Fox efforts in their local community for years. As they planned to take a step back from their annual Pars for Parkinson’s golf outing this year, Debby shares how the support of their local Teaneck, NJ community inspired a new and exciting chapter for their Team Fox efforts.
In 2007, my world was turned upside down when my 54-year-old husband, Lou, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and was forced to retire from his career as a general surgeon. We didn’t have the income we once had and suddenly he had a tremor that other people might find upsetting or frightening. I worried that our friends might shy away from us. But, the opposite was true. Friends and total strangers helped us put together a golf outing called “Pars for Parkinson’s”. Our friends called in favors, grilled hotdogs, pounded the pavement, wrote checks, carried heavy boxes, stood in the heat and the rain and ultimately raised over $200,000 for The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF). Lou and I were uplifted and strengthened by living in such a caring community.
This year, Lou and I felt that we couldn’t undertake the golf outing again. The wear and tear on our volunteers was just too great and we wanted to do something closer to home that was far less labor intensive. When we decided to tie an event to the 30th anniversary of the release of Back to the Future, [the outpouring of support we received] made me realize what a special place Teaneck really is.
Matt Laven from Teaneck Cinemas offered to provide us with four theaters on Sunday, October 18, 2015, where we can show Back to the Future, and on his smallest screen—for the smallest movie buffs—Stuart Little, played by none other than Michael J. Fox. Matt’s vision isn’t just about showing a film though, it’s about creating an event with T-shirt, raffle prizes, costumes, Doc Brown and Marty McFly impersonators, and a Delorean parked outside. He understands what we’ve known for a long time: great things can happen in Teaneck.
So, when Matt was approached by Universal Studios about showing a Back to the Future marathon on Tuesday, October 21, 2015—the actual date that Marty McFly and Doc travelled to in the Back to the Future II-- Matt agreed with one caveat. All the proceeds from that Tuesday’s movie marathon will ALSO benefit MJFF.
What I’ve learned over the last decade [of fundraising in this community] is that big city people have small town hearts. And I’m sure that on October 18 and 21, 2015, we will be surrounded by a huge number of people who hope, as we do, that Parkinson’s disease will be eradicated in our lifetime.
(Click here for full text of Back To… A Future Without Parkinson’s, via the Jewish Link of New Jersey)