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Aaron St. John
The hour long season finale of Spin City aired last week on ABC. Season finales are traditionally hyped as major events, but this one actually was a big deal; it was Michael J. Fox's last show.
Fox announced late last year that he suffers from Parkinson's Disease and will leave his acting career behind in order to devote his time to lead the crusade to find a cure. The disease affects the central nervous system, leaving its victims unable to control their physical movements and in most cases renders them unable to walk or speak.
While his decision is brave and one which will have a substantial impact, Hollywood is losing one of its brightest stars. Over the course of his career, Fox has portrayed many diverse characters, yet he has always comes off as a nice guy. His charisma, charm and his trademark smile, have made Fox perhaps the most reliable actor around the kind of guy you feel like you either know or want to get to know.
If you're in your early twenties, then chances are you've grown up with Michael J. Fox. He hasn't left the pop culture radar since the debut of Family Ties in the early eighties in which he portrayed Alex P. Keaton, the conservative son of hippie parents. Films like Back To The Future, Teen Wolf and Stuart Little made him a movie star. While Spin City has never been a huge hit, Fox has made it one of the most consistently funny programs on television over the last four seasons.
Although the 38-year-old Canadian-born Fox has said that he will continue to produce, direct and act occasionally, he plans to focus his attention on finding a cure for Parkinson's Disease.
Fox has spoken before the United States Congress about the need for additional funding for research in this area and announced recently that he has formed an organization called The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.
Before Fox announced he was suffering from the debilitating disease, a common misconception led many to believe Parkinson's was something that affects only the elderly. This is simply not the case. Although instances of it in younger people are rare, the disease can strike at any time.
For that reason, students at Western should not ignore this disease. Fox has said he is sure a cure for Parkinson's will be discovered by the time he turns 50, which is only 12 short years away. That may be so, but we're not there yet, so it's important everyone to get involved any way they can.