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This chapter is from the book

Celebrities Can Educate, Too

Most of us think of Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly from Back to the Future, reworking history so that his parents are happy and successful, or as the not-quite sleazy mayor's aide in Spin City. Yet, when he announced that he was quitting the show because he suffered from Parkinson's Disease, we were shocked. In the interviews and specials which followed, we learned a great deal about the disease and how it affects families, famous or not. Figure 3.3 shows the Web site for the Michael J. Fox foundation, where you can find lots of information on Parkinson's, current research, and resources.

Figure 3.3 Information on Parkinson's Disease.

It's very likely that many of us would not have given much thought to Parkinson's Disease, unless we had a family member who suffered from it. However, we have adopted celebrities into a kind of pseudo-family, and so Michael's struggles and successes felt personal.

Many other celebrities have causes they champion. Dick Ward, TV's Robin in Batman, champions neglected Great Danes. Destiny's Child, a popular music group, supports a youth center in Houston, Texas. Daisy Fuentes wants pregnant moms to make sure they get enough folic acid. Ron Silverman, a well-known actor, has started a foundation called "The Creative Coalition," to help celebrities find out how to help their favorite causes. Celebrity Web pages help us find out what causes entertainers and other popular figures are involved in. Figure 3.4 shows one such page, on About.com.

Figure 3.4 About.com's celebrity causes index.

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