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Hollywood honored actor Michael J. Fox last week for his ongoing work to raise awareness on Parkinson’s Disease.

Fox’s commitment goes beyond his Michael J. Fox Foundation that researches treatments and cures for Parkinson’s disease – although the foundation has raised almost $100 million since Fox established it in 2000, ten years after being diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s. He was very pleased when, earlier this year, American president Barack Obama overturned a ban on federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research, getting “politics out of science.”

But perhaps an even greater contribution, to himself and others who are afflicted with the disease, was when he came out of the closet, helping to overturn taboos and the shame that comes along with the debilitating disease. The books Fox has written on living with Parkinson’s have also been well-received.

TV presenter Laila Ali, daughter of boxing legend Muhammad Ali, is familiar with Parkinson’s since her father also suffers from it. At the celebration, she said: “[Michael] carries himself with such dignity. He doesn’t try to hide his symptoms from the public and I think that’s excellent. He’s a great man.” Hollywood thinks so too.

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