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Parkinson’s is a progressive brain disease without a clear cause and with no known cures—yet. The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research is an incredible organization that has funded over $1 BILLION DOLLARS of research on Parkinson’s! There are many ways to get involved in the Foundation’s work, including participating in their big-data PPMI study—no doctor visits required! But today, on the National Day of Action to end Parkinson’s, I encourage you to get involved in their advocacy wing, and make your voice heard to support important public policy on the state and federal levels to help find new treatments, preventions, and even cures for Parkinson’s!

The big news is that, for the first time in history, a bipartisan bill to prevent and cure Parkinson’s disease has been introduced in both the US House and Senate. A companion bill to the bipartisan legislation introduced in the US House in August by Representatives Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), the National Plan to End Parkinson’s Act was introduced by Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) on September 16, 2022. This bipartisan legislation, if passed, will enable a unified federal and private sector response to finding new treatments and a cure.

It would be wonderful to see this legislation passed for the more than one million Americans who suffer from Parkinson’s and their families, including my own. I am almost the same age as my dad when he was diagnosed 21 years ago with early-onset Parkinson’s. It is a cruel disease. I’ve watched as my dad loses more and more of his ability to interact with the world around him, including his ability to speak, to walk, even to smile or swallow food. I learned a lot from how my dad interacted with those around him: his kindness, his humor, his sense of responsibility, his work ethic, his ability to listen and show people he cared. He was an asset to this world. Now I go about my daily life with his example as my guide, even as the disease has walled him off. I miss my dad. 

The Michael J. Fox Foundation has made it easy to advocate for the passage of this bipartisan legislation! Just go to the Action Center for the National Plan, and you can find specific information (and contact numbers, and scripts!) for calling your Congressional representatives, or writing them an email, or contacting the media, along with many other ways to bring attention to this important legislation. Let’s get this historic legislation passed and make a difference in the fight against Parkinson’s! 

Thank you, Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s, for making a difference!