"If you were to rush in to this room right now and announce that you had struck a deal-with God, Allah, Buddha, Christ, Krishna, Bill Gates, whomever-in which the ten years since my diagnosis could be magically taken away, traded in for ten more years as the person I was before, I would, without a moment's hesitation, tell you to take a hike."

Name: Michael J. Fox
Home: Edmonton, Canada
Birth Year: 1961
Parkinson's Status: Patient
Diagnosed: 1991
Major Symptoms: Tremor

Michael, Nick and Todd
Michael J. Fox with Todd and Nick 

The members of the LONGITUDE team met up with Michael J. Fox in Vancouver, Canada, while he was visiting family over the year-end holidays.  Fox, who has been suffering from Parkinson's Disease since 1991, hid his diagnosis from the public until 1998. Since then he has committed himself to bringing an end to it by 2010, using his celebrity to launch the disease into the public eye. 

He was excited about the teamís efforts and was very thankful for their proactive approach to combating this neurological disorder by using their around-the-world expedition as a way to drive the condition into the public spotlight. Although Fox has done a tremendous amount for the disease himself, finding of a cure relies on dedicated community efforts. 

Fox, who has been in the spotlight since the early eighties, challenged the Parkinsonís community to give up their vanity and fight for a cure.  It is not exactly glamorous to have a tremor, but admitting you have the disease allows family and friends to participate in the fight against Parkinsonís disease.  Many people just hide the condition, not allowing family and friends to know about its devastating effects.  When people are silent about the symptoms of the disease, its ramifications, and our proximity to a cure, they are less likely to get involved in efforts to expedite an end to Parkinson's. 

Although, Fox is a leading figure in the fight for a Parkinsonís cure, he is not sad that he has been affected by it. In his book Lucky Man he writes about his life, his diagnosis, and coming to terms with the disease (to read an excerpt:
http://www.michaeljfox.org/news/article.php?id=5 )
. He discusses the life lessons he has learned from the disease and how his slowing down helped him realize the importance of the people in his life. 

Team Members enjoyed meeting with Fox and sharing with him stories about the places they have visited, including personal stories from people around the world who are battling Parkinsonís Disease.  Taking the keys of the vehicle he had just autographed, Michael J. Fox took Drive Around the World team members on a tour of his home town of Vancouver, British Colombia.  All had a great time as Michael pointed out different hot spots, embellishing each with his own anecdotes. Although the LONGITUDE team has been to countless cities, expedition leader Nick Baggarly agreed that it ďsure is nice to have a guide to take you around a new place.Ē