Since its inception in 2006, Team Fox, MJFF’s grassroots fundraising program, has seen thousands of members transform their unique passions into events and feats toward a cure for Parkinson’s.
The program began with just 200 members and has since expanded into a global movement of over 6,000 individuals and families who have passed through Team Fox’s doors, finding creative ways to help put an end to Parkinson’s disease. The perseverance of these members has resulted in incredible fundraising achievements that MJFF could never have dreamed of, including individual events that have now crossed $1 million in cumulative fundraising.
“It’s mind-blowing that we’re celebrating individual Team Fox events that have raised $1 million for Parkinson’s research,” says Michael J. Fox. “We know it takes a lot of hard work, passion and dedication to raise those big dollars.”
First to cross the $1 million mark was guest bartending competition Tips for Parkinson’s. Established in 2006 by Team Fox member Susan Bilotta, whose mother lives with Parkinson’s disease, “Tips” has grown from 100 friends in a pub on New York City’s East Side to a highly anticipated event attracting over 700 guests. Having crossed the million-dollar mark, Susan shows no signs of slowing down. She continues inviting friends, family and the community to test their bartending skills in support of research.
Jim and Chris Edlund, of the Danville D’Elegance (DDE) Foundation, marked their event’s 10th anniversary in September, which also reached $1 million in cumulative giving with its annual weekend of automotive events in historic Danville, California. The event, organized by the Foundation’s dedicated committee members, started with a small group of 20 volunteers in its first year and has since exploded in popularity, engaging more than 200 individuals who diligently raise funds for MJFF. The Edlunds have a long family history of Parkinson’s disease, prompting them to establish their foundation to raise funds for research. Danville D’Elegance, a classic and exotic automobile festival, attracts hundreds of car enthusiasts from around the country and has steadily increased its fundraising goals each year, in part through the contributions of national and international sponsors.
Edna Woods of Merrimack, New Hampshire, and her family hosted their 7th annual New England Parkinson’s Ride in September, sending their cumulative giving to MJFF across the $1-million mark. Edna launched the ride in honor of her son, Chris, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2006 at age 41. This year, 600-plus riders took to the streets, winding through beautiful country roads — for as many as 100 miles — surrounding Old Orchard Beach, Maine.
“Team Fox members inspire us every day by coupling creativity with immense generosity,” says Sheila Kelly, vice president of development at MJFF. “We can’t wait to see what our incredible fundraisers have in store next.”
To learn about how you can become a Team Fox member or attend and support a Team Fox event in your area, visit www.teamfox.org.
For this story and more, check out the fall 2014 edition of The Fox Focus of Parkinson's.