The namesake of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research is in the mood for celebration, because his foundation has surpassed a challenge to raise $50 million over the past two years.
Longtime supporter Sergey Brin, a cofounder of Google, and his wife, Anne Wojcicki (read Anne Wojcicki's IP profile), a biotechnology analyst and a cofounder of genetic testing company 23andMe, have matched more than $53 million in donations received over two years by the foundation. The couple had originally agreed to match up to $50 million, but because they were impressed by the generosity of foundation donors, they agreed to match the extra $3 million as well.
In a statement, Fox noted that Brin and Wojcicki have been the foundation's largest donors for several years in a row, and that "Anne and Sergey's friendship to our foundation and to Parkinson's patients worldwide is awe-inspiring. As if a $50 million dollar match weren't tremendous in its own right, they've gone above and beyond their initial commitment to match the three million dollars extra ponied up by our incredible supporters. There's no doubt the challenge has made our community stronger and more vibrant in its passionate pursuit of a cure."
The 51-year-old movie star Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1991. He started the Michael J. Fox Foundation in 2000. The foundation's goal is to find a cure for Parkinson's, and it has raised hundreds of millions of dollars for research into the disease.
Brin and Wojcicki have been strong supporters of Parkinson's research for years. Brin once wrote a blog post about his mother's and aunt's experiences in dealing with the disease and said that he is glad to be able to help fund research into Parkinson's to such a degree. He wrote, "I feel fortunate to be in this position. Until the fountain of youth is discovered, all of us will have some conditions in our old age only we don't know what they will be. I have a better guess than almost anyone else for what ills may be mine — and I have decades to prepare for it." (Read Sergey Brin's IP profile). In 2008, Brin discovered that he carries the flawed gene or gene mutation that gives him a 50% chance of getting Parkinson's before his 70th birthday. Wojcicki and her cofounders at 23andMe have been studying the genetics of Parkinson's for years.