On Saturday, November 12, during "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Cure Parkinson's," the Foundation celebrated what Michael J. Fox has often called one of his favorite nights of the year.
"It's something we've been doing since the beginning, having this gala, and it's grown in amazing ways with the amount of people in the greater Parkinson's community -- and outside of it -- who come out and support us," said Michael while on the red carpet. "It's humbling every year."
Hosted at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City, a sold-out crowd of more than 1,000 gathered to enjoy an evening of comedy and music, all while raising an incredible $5.7 million for the Foundation. Host Tom Papa and comedians Jerrod Carmichael, Susie Essman and Dan Naturman brought the laughs, and legendary folk rocker Dave Matthews filled the ballroom with his signature voice and crowd-favorite songs. Considered by many the highlight of the night, Michael strapped on a guitar to jam with Dave for the grand finale of "All Along the Watchtower."
One special VIP guest made a grand entrance on the red carpet. Accompanied by Nike shoe masterminds Tinker Hatfield and Tiffany Beers, the 2016 self-lacing Nike Mag made its swan song after a limited-edition release benefitting the Foundation in October. During a thrilling live auction moment after dinner, guests in attendance took hold of their Nike Mag-shaped bidding paddles for the opportunity to own the last remaining pair of the iconic shoe. The shoes were sold for an incredible winning bid of $200,000, making them arguably the world's most expensive pair of sneakers.
In addition to a standout celebrity guest list that included Julianna Margulies and Keith Lieberthal, Blythe Danner, George Stroumboulopoulos and Foundation Board members Willie Geist and George Stephanopoulos, "Funny Thing" regular and co-chair of the evening, Katie Couric, summed up why she returns year-after-year:
"Research toward Parkinson's is going to help a whole host of neurological disorders. I'm just so proud of what Michael and Tracy and the whole Foundation have been able to accomplish. And the only way we're going to have a cure, or better drugs that help manage the disease, is if we don't let up and don't take our foot off the gas. So anything I can do to support this really important work, I will do for as long as I can."
As with every year, thanks to the Foundation Board of Directors, every penny of the millions raised will go directly to the Foundation's high-impact programs. To date, "Funny Thing" has raised more than $70 million to put an end to Parkinson's.