In 2011, Brett Keyser took part in the ING New York City marathon on behalf of Team Fox. He ran to honor his father, Steve Keyser, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s 12 years ago. The highlight of that race? Getting to mile 23, where Michael J. Fox gave Brett a high five.
On December 1, Brett will be taking on a potentially even greater challenge—the Sarasota Tough Mudder. To raise funds and awareness for Team Fox, he will complete a 12-mile course that includes 26 obstacles such as the Braveheart Charge, The Devil’s Beard and The Gauntlet . While training for such an event is tough, Brett enjoys getting himself out there. “You know you’re doing it all for a great cause, and that helps drive you,” he says.
He first got involved with Team Fox and The Michael J. Fox Foundation when he was living in New York several years ago. But his family’s engagement with the Foundation dates back even further, to his dad’s diagnosis in 2000. “We’ve always been impressed with MJFF’s single-minded focus on funding research,” Brett says. He’s attended the Foundation’s annual gala, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Cure Parkinson’s, as has his sister and father. “Our whole family keeps up with the latest news in PD research, and we look to the Foundation as a source of that information,” he says.
Now that Brett is back in his hometown of Sarasota he’s enjoyed the opportunity to become a part of the Team Fox community there. “Taking part in the marathon was a great introduction to Team Fox for me. It’s an amazing group of people,” he says.
He has also appreciated living closer to his father again. “My dad has been a huge supporter of my Team Fox efforts. And I’m glad to be able to something for him,” Brett says.
His father stays active, playing golf at least four times a week and practicing yoga. He even shot a hole in one while playing golf earlier this year. Brett says, “That’s not bad for someone who’s had Parkinson’s for over a decade! But we’ve been fortunate—he’s doing really well.”