Michael J. Fox, On Finding A Parkinson's Community

05/13/2011 08:21 am ET | Updated Jul 13, 2011

When Michael J. Fox first told the world that he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1998, he received an outpouring of support from concerned fans. But what he says he didn't expect was that, after seven years of dealing with the disease in private, he was now part of a community -- a community of some five million people around the world who are faced with the same reality that he is.

Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder with symptoms that include trembling in the hands, arms, legs, jaw and face, stiffness of the arms, legs and trunk, a slowness in movement, and poor balance and coordination.

"When I first went online after I disclosed that I had Parkinson’s, I read a story in a chat room," the former "Spin City" and "Family Ties" star told AOL's "You've Got" producer Brandon Cruz. A woman was explaining how every time she visited a local store, she could tell that the clerk thought she was drunk -- when he finally asked her what was wrong, she shared that she had Parkinson's. "And he said, 'Oh like Michael Fox.' And immediately the whole thing changed," he explained. "She realized that she was not alone. And reading that story, I realized that I wasn’t alone. That I was part of a community and that I had a responsibility."

That sense of community and responsibility has galvanized Fox into creating his foundation, The Michael J. Fox Foundation For Parkinson's Research, which is dedicated to finding a cure for the disease. The site's homepage proclaims: "Our progress is you powered," which is something Fox couldn't agree with more -- right now he's hoping to expand the Parkinson's community, and those who support them, to Facebook by getting more than 100,000 fans for the foundation. "I know I feel like I have 100,000 friends," he says. "Like" the foundation here and check out Fox's vision by watching below.


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