You may be aware of the recent announcement that Ozzy Osbourne’s son, Jack, has multiple sclerosis. Jack, if you're reading this, please accept my thanks for going public with your private health issue and accept my heartfelt condolences regarding your diagnosis. As you've undoubtedly been told already, MS is not a death sentence by any means, but your life will never be the same. You can take solace in the fact that you are now part of a community of approximately 400,000 Americans, and more than 2.5 million people worldwide who are similarly affected. At some point, after you have adjusted a bit to your new reality, please consider wielding your celebrity to support our collective cause. We can use all the help we can get.
But let's face it, the MS cause needs what Parkinson's disease already has – a Michael J Fox. And right now, we don't have one. Sure, we have several celebrities such as Montel Williams, Richard Cohen, Annette Funicello, Teri Garr, David "Squiggy” Lander, Anne Romney, Clay Walker, Marc Stecker, and Jeff Beal who are known to have MS, and who are making considerable efforts on our behalf. But what we lack is somebody with the stature and commitment of Michael J Fox.
Let's consider what he has done for Parkinson's.
His charity, The Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, has become the largest private funder of Parkinson's disease research in the world, investing almost $200 million to date. The foundation is still going strong, and may someday be a significant factor in finding the cure for Parkinson's. That's right. The efforts of a single advocate like Mr. Fox could positively impact the 5 million or so people who are living with Parkinson's today, and the many more who may contract this disease in the future.
Although I wouldn't wish this disease on my worst enemy, imagine if someone like Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Ellen Degeneres, Lady Gaga, Leonardo DiCaprio, Julia Roberts, or George Clooney developed MS? It would be devastating for them and their loved ones, but just think of the good they might do for millions of people with MS.
Every time I hear a celebrity announcing that they have a disease, I'm jealous when that disease is not MS. I sincerely hope that somebody of this A-list stature, who is inclined toward activism, joins our little fraternity and injects $200 million or so into research. Does this make me a bad person?
Before closing out this post, I will issue a personal challenge to Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne. You are at least as well-known as Michael J Fox. Are you going to let that vertically challenged Canadian raise more money for his disease than you do for yours?
Let’s cross our fingers for a big celebrity announcement in the near future…
Please forgive my callousness, but I feel entitled to at least the tongue-in-cheek variety of it.