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Parkinson’s disease is a progressive brain disease without a clear cause and with no known cures. It is the second-highest diagnosed brain disease in the world, and (unfortunately) the fastest growing brain disease diagnosis. Currently about 1 million Americans, and 6 million people across the globe, suffer from Parkinson’s. But there is hope! There are amazing organizations out there, including the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, that are investing billions of dollars to find treatments and cures! Here’s how you can get involved in the fight to end Parkinson’s disease.

One way that anyone can get involved—whether or not you have a family history or diagnosis of Parkinson’s—is by joining the PPMI study. The PPMI (Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative) is a big-data study, run by the Michael J. Fox Foundation, and it involves no invasive procedures or doctors’ visits! All you have to do is sign up online and then (anonymously) fill out health questionnaires about every three months. Your privacy is protected and your identity is not attached to your health data—this study is all about creating big, aggregate data that can help researchers understand large patterns and genetic links over time. It was easy for me to fill out the initial health forms in July, and I just got the nudge to fill out the next round, which was also easy—took about 20 minutes total! If you can spare 20–30 minutes every three months, you can help researchers cure Parkinson’s. Sign up today!

The Different Paths to PPMI,” The Fox Focus on Parkinson’s, Fall/Winter 2022, p. 13


You can also raise awareness through advocacy. Advocacy can take many forms. You can reach out directly to your state and national elected leaders and encourage them to support funding and other initiatives for Parkinson’s research. Learn more at the Michael J. Fox Foundation page on advocacythis website connects you directly with the email and phone numbers of your officials so it’s easy to reach out!

Another way to advocate is to write a letter to the editor to help those in your community become more aware of the fight to end Parkinson’s disease. In honor of this September’s National Day of Action, I wrote a letter to the editor advocating for the passage of the bipartisan national legislation, “The National Plan to End Parkinson’s Act.” My letter was published in MetroWest Daily News, our local regional newspaper! 

Legislation addresses Parkinson’s disease,” Jocelyn Mitchell, MetroWest Daily News, October 9, 2022


Check out the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research to find out how you can get involved, through donations, fundraising, participating in studies, advocacy, and more!

Thank you, all the heroes working together to treat and cure Parkinson’s disease, for making the world a better place!