The Fox Focus Fall/Winter 2017 - Page 23

Community by ALLISON BOILES TOM ISAACS: A LIFE OF PASSION, DETERMINATION AND HOPE During the earliest years of MJFF and CPT, Debi Brooks and Michael J. Fox met with Tom Isaacs Last summer, The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) joined with the Parkinson’s community around the world in mourning the loss of Tom Isaacs, patient advocate and visionary leader. In 2005, he co-founded The Cure Parkinson’s Trust (CPT), a United Kingdom-based charity focused on funding research and bringing together people with PD to help shape research and advocacy priorities. Since his unexpected passing on May 31, Tom’s friends worldwide have written publicly to share their memories of Tom and his impact on Parkinson’s research: “Tom’s passion, determination and hard work on behalf of everyone living with Parkinson’s were the hallmark of his life and will be his continuing legacy in our community. Our Foundation was fortunate to know him and to partner with The Cure Parkinson’s Trust toward our shared mission to speed a cure.” — Michael J. Fox “Tom was a true inspiration. He was tireless in his determination to find a cure for Parkinson’s, right from the time he was first diagnosed with the condition at the age of 27.” — Steve Ford chief executive, Parkinson’s UK “Tom was so determined that his Parkinson’s was not going to define him and actually what it did was give him the energy to try and find a cure. He was not prepared to take the diagnosis lying down. He was also absolutely determined that he wanted to involve people with Parkinson’s in helping to find their own cure. So with those two missions, The Cure Parkinson’s Trust came into being.” — Helen Matthews chief operating officer, The Cure Parkinson’s Trust 23 Fall/Winter 2017 “Whether you knew Tom 20 years or one year, his infectious spirit, sense of humor and intelligence would have you under his spell in a nanosecond. He was a leader from the day of his diagnosis and he dreamed about helping others with PD to also become leaders to march alongside him in his journey to end Parkinson’s disease.” — Elizabeth Pollard executive director, World Parkinson Congress