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5 faces of Parkinson's disease, brought to you by Michael J. Fox.

There's still no cure for Parkinson's disease; Michael J. Fox wants to change that.

5 faces of Parkinson's disease, brought to you by Michael J. Fox.

In 1998, Michael J. Fox revealed that he had been living with Parkinson's disease for the previous seven years.

The announcement came as a huge shock to the public. At the time of the announcement, Fox was the star of his own ABC sitcom, "Spin City." He joined a select group of public figures with the disease, alongside legendary boxer Muhammad Ali and then-Attorney General Janet Reno.


Fox strikes a post with Ali before giving Congressional testimony in 2002. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

Then in 2000, he co-founded the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.

Using his celebrity to shine a light on the struggle people living with Parkinson's face, Fox's foundation hoped to get beyond building awareness and actually focus on helping others with the disease.

Fox speaks at a benefit to raise funds for stem cell research in 2004. Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images.

Since 2000, the organization has raised more than $450 million dedicated to Parkinson's research. Go, Michael!

In a new video, Fox is helping to demystify the disease in another way, too: by using his platform to tell others' stories.

Last year, the foundation released a video titled "Faces of Parkinson's." The video has five individuals with the disease explaining what their Parkinson's looks like. As Fox says at the beginning of the video, "I was 29 when I learned I had Parkinson's disease. I soon learned that each patient has their own version of Parkinson's, their own story to tell."

Here are five of those stories.

1. Susan Kauffman was diagnosed in 2006, two weeks after her 39th birthday.

"[Parkinson's] just came across me like, 'Where did this come from? Why me?'" she says. After a few years, Kauffman came to terms with the disease, resolving to do whatever she could to help find a cure.

All photos from The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.

2. New York-based artist Tom Shannon's first symptoms involved his sense of smell.

Soon after, he began to notice his arm cramping up. He describes Parkinson's effects on his work, and especially on his drawing, as "discouraging."

3. Tom Picone first noticed symptoms after his 50th birthday.

"I was writing thank you notes to people for my 50th birthday party," he says in the video. "I would start the note, and the letters would get smaller and smaller. Sooner or later, the hand wouldn't move."

4. Joyce Chu noticed something was up while she was running.

"I just had problems running. My right leg just didn't keep up with the left leg," she says, admitting that she didn't think much of it at the time. It wasn't until her husband asked what was wrong that Chu became more aware of the changes and early symptoms.

She resolved to run one final marathon before hanging up her sneakers.

5. Brian Grant played professional basketball for more than a decade before he was diagnosed with Parkinson's.

In 2005, Grant was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. Before the 2006 season, he announced his retirement from basketball. The eighth overall pick in the 1994 NBA draft, Grant was one of the world's elite athletes.

"My greatest fear is losing control of me," he said in a 2009 interview with ESPN, "Having someone have to take care of me. But that was at the beginning."

For extended versions of these stories, check out the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research video below.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less