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Actor Michael J. Fox received an exciting surprise after his 7th annual “A Funny (Groovy) Thing Happened on the Way to the Cure for Parkinson’s” fundraiser last month – the Woodstock-themed event raised an incredible $5.5 million.

Over 1000 guests, including Julianne Moore, Bart Freundlich, Katrina Bowden and Masi Oka, were in attendance, as well as New York’s Governor Eliot Spitzer and Newark’s Mayor Cory A Booker. Stephen Colbert was the comedic host, while musical performances from John Mayer, Joan Osborne, Levon Helm, Gavin DeGraw, and The Soul Ramblers created a psychedelic groove. Even Michael couldn’t resist grabbing his guitar and jamming on stage with the band, performing “Summertime Blues”, “Up On Cripple Creek”, and “Love the One You’re With”.

“He lives in the moment so much,” said Fox’s wife, Tracy Pollan. “I find that a real inspiration.”

Proceeds from the gala will go to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which researches treatments and cures for Parkinson’s disease. The Foundation has raised almost $100 million since Fox established it in 2000, 10 years after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s himself.

The degenerative neurological disorder affects the central nervous system. Obvious symptoms include resting tremors, slowness of movement, imbalance, rigidity, and loss of coordination. Other symptoms range from mild memory difficulties to dementia, depression and anxiety, sleep difficulties, a loss of the sense of smell, speech and swallowing problems, and unexplained pains. One out of every hundred people over 60 are affected by this disease, and there are currently over six million sufferers around the world.

“We want to be that point for people who wake up in the morning and think, ’Who’s finding a cure for this?‘. It’s us. We wake up every day and that’s our mission,” said Fox.

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