For those who dream BIG (like me), here is someone who didn't wait for his future to slowly & progressively rob him of his faculties. He dreamed big, took the first step and then the next. Because he didn't stop, he began steering not only his, but the entire PD community's future. The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research was born in 2000. None of us with the disease today would look anything like we do because of his success in bringing PD to the front page with his celebrity status and early diagnosis.
Prior to MJFF, if you were diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease you were given Carbidopa/Levodopa, the gold standard pill. That's about all they had. DBS was still early. There were other drugs but those were accidental finds when treating for something else.
MJFF did the incredible. The Foundation FUNDED PD researchers so that the smartest of the brilliant could actually do their jobs and how lucky we all are. He didn't just speed up the process - it went WARP SPEED. The result: New drugs and new therapies funded, clinically trialed, passed and produced for the entire range of symptoms this bizarre disease carries with it. DNA research to identify potential biomarkers led to finding alpha-synuclein acid eating my dopamine transmitter cells and the biomarker LRRK2 connection. Researchers now have a target !! The problem was and still is the blood/brain barrier hurdle that keeps us alive but limits doctors access to reach it beyond scan for answers, unless its a brain in autopsy.
No two PDers are alike. No disease is quite like PD. No one, in my experience, has only PD. I have PD, Dystonia, Dyskinesia, and a host of other disorders (all related). Patients affect can be almost unnoticeable to incapacitated. And it suffers from too high a rate of misdiagnosis as something else because it is showing up earlier and earlier in younger and younger patients.
Michael J Fox is a personal hero of mine. Thank Michael for leading the way to ending this for our children's children.
What if you knew you couldn't fail? What could you do if you dream big dreams and never give up or give in?
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"Lisa Chalker is One Face of Early Onset Parkinson's Disease. Come along on her journey from symptoms to diagnosis; through treatments and therapies. There are highs and lows, miracles and heart notes, and the determination to never, ever, ever, ever give up on the power of HOPE."