What do you get when you combine 8,000 miles of bicycling, 49 high-point climbs and 103 days of traveling across the United States? The final tallies of Tour de Fox, a 14,000-mile cross-country fundraising feat led by MJFF staffer and ultra-athlete Sam Fox (no relation to Michael J. Fox). In addition to those inspiring athletic challenges, at the close of Tour de Fox on September 12, Sam and supporters raised $1.87 million (and counting) for Parkinsonís research, nearly double the Tourís original $1 million fundraising goal.
This wasnít a journey of just one individual: more than 2,000 members of the Parkinsonís community ó including 129 people living with PD ó joined Sam along the route. In addition to the Tourís 52 hiking, climbing and biking excursions, more than 30 celebrations were hosted around the country, including ďTour de Fox: Wine Country Edition,Ē the Tourís single largest fundraiser organized by Foundation Board member and Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates President, Rick Tigner. And reaching beyond the physical route, the Tour garnered thousands of supporters online who kept track of Samís progress over the three and half month period.
So what led Sam to spend 103 physically-challenging days on the road in support of Parkinsonís research? His mother Lucy who has been living with Parkinsonís since 2000. Despite every ache and blister during his time on the road, Sam kept his spirits high by thinking of his mother and all the Parkinsonís families he met along the way, ďAs the bruises and aches began to set in, I often thought about how these pains were temporary, while the challenges faced by my mom and those living with PD are every day. I am honored to have met so many with Parkinsonís and their families who shared their grace and strength with me, and who kept me going every step of the way.Ē
Michael J. Fox, who joined Sam to climb North Dakotaís highest peak in July, had this to say about Sam and the Tourís gravitational energy: ďThe power of the Parkinsonís community to bring about change canít be overstated, and Tour de Fox has united and motivated Parkinsonís patients and families in a whole new way. Sam may be slightly nuts to have taken this on, but thanks to the thousands who came out to support his extreme undertaking this summer, weíre reminded that working together not only helps us share our strength and hope ó it also brings us tangibly closer to the cure.Ē
Even though the physical journey of the Tour has concluded, you can still support Samís effort, and help bring us closer to a cure. Donations to Tour de Fox will be accepted through the end of 2015. Thanks to the generosity of a Foundation board member, 100 percent of all Tour donations will go straight to research efforts.