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Michael J. Fox Foundation Rallies Parkinson's Community for Facebook Fundraiser

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 30, 2012 11:24 AM

The Michael J. Fox Foundation refreshed its branding earlier this year in order to put the emphasis on "research" and less on "Fox." Now, for the holiday season, it's turning the spotlight “Tell Us Your Story” Facebook campaign invites patients and their loved ones to share personal experiences or anecdotes about living with Parkinson’s disease to raise money and awareness.

Biopharmaceutical company UCB will donate $5 to MJFF (up to $60,000) for every “Like” or “Share” of each person’s story now through December 31st.

The Foundation has no endowment so every dollar raised goes straight to research and progress towards finding a cure. Additionally, every donation received through “Tell Us Your Story” will be matched dollar-for-dollar as part of the Foundation’s $50 million Brin Wojcicki Challenge, which was launched by Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki, bringing the total potential contribution to $120,000.

“The Michael J. Fox Foundation is committed to expanding our online community so we can hear and engage with thousands of voices from the Parkinson’s community,” said Laxmi Wordham, chief digital officer, MJFF. “The ‘Tell Us Your Story’ campaign will harness inspiring voices from around the world and amplify their stories of Parkinson’s disease to raise awareness and critical funds for Parkinson’s research.” 

Social technology company Syncapse, whose clients include Coca-Cola Company, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Amway, Diageo, L'Oréal, and Reckitt Benckiser, designed the app pro-bono. “Finding a cure for Parkinson's disease is a cause that hits close to home,” said Michael Scissons, CEO and founder, Syncapse. “The Syncapse team has donated its marketing expertise and innovative social technologies to empower The Michael J. Fox Foundation in its mission.”

Founded in 2000, the Foundation refreshed its logo for the first time in May. "While our mission remains exclusively to speed research progress, we are increasingly a portal to engagement for the PD community at large — not just researchers but patients, their loved ones, physicians and members of the general public who are inspired to give back," blogged Holly Barkhymer, VP of marketing and communications. 

"The DNA of the brand shares so much of Michael's DNA — transparency, urgency, optimism, engagement," said Barkhymer. "Michael is immensely proud of the work we do, our commitment to patients, and he's the most humble guy, he's always telling us, 'it's really not about me.' He's been know to edit out the pronoun 'me' in speeches." 

Fox continues to engage and inspire us with cunning and humility – an unbeatable combination and personal brand since he worked his way into our hearts and minds with roles including Marty McFly from the Back to the Future trilogy (1985–1990); Alex P. Keaton from Family Ties (1982–1989) for which he won three Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe; and Mike Flaherty from Spin City (1996–2000). 

Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1991 but withheld public disclosure until 1999. Since then, his personal courage and establishment of MJFF as the world’s largest private funder of Parkinson’s research, funding more than $304 million in research to date, have changed the trajectory of the disease towards a cure. 

“Many people with Parkinson’s keep their story to themselves,” said Carey Christensen, a Parkinson’s patient advocate and member of the Foundation’s Patient Council. “But speaking from my experience, sharing your story brings an amazing feeling of empowerment.”

All is takes is a click on Facebook.

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