The stars turned out in support of Michael J. Fox’s Foundation for Parkinson’s Research on Saturday night, gathering at new educationally named gastropub Public School 818 in Sherman Oaks, California.
“Girls” stars Lena Dunham and Andrew Rannells, along with Lea Thompson, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Lindsay Price, Dana Delany, Michael Trucco and others, helped to toast the work Fox’s foundation has been doing.
“Finding a cure is of the utmost importance, but even research for medication is important,” stressed “Baby Daddy” star Chelsea Kane. Kane, like many of the evening’s guests, shared her personal connections to the disease. She first attended a Team Fox event with her uncle, diagnosed with Parkinson’s, and was instantly inspired to help the cause. Now that her grandmother is living with the disease, Kane notes that just having the right medication to live day-to-day “is like night and day.”
“It’s beyond finding a cure,” said Constance Zimmer. “What they’re doing at the foundation, the fact that they’re developing all these new therapies so that you can live with the disease, is incredible.” Though there is currently no cure for Parkinson’s, Zimmer notes that a diagnosis isn’t a death sentence.
Fox was not on hand to share in the evening’s fundraising efforts, which amounted to over $96,000 raised, but his passion was felt inside, where guests, including his “Back to the Future” co-star Thompson, were treated to hand-crafted drinks and bites in the hip, school-themed setting.
As bids were made (on items ranging from an Xbox One and Microsoft tablet, to field-level Dodgers tickets, designer handbags and VIP tickets to “2 Broke Girls”), Fox’s ’80s hit “Teen Wolf” played from the wall.
Missi Pyle (“Gone Girl”) at one point commanded the mic, sharing her own touching story about her stepfather who lived with Parkinson’s and recently passed away from complications due to the disease.
“Anything that can be done to raise money and awareness for Parkinson’s is something that I want to be involved in,” professed “Agents of SHIELD” actress Elizabeth Henstridge.
Currently, over 5 million people are living with Parkinson’s disease, and since its inception in 2001, the Michael J. Fox Foundation and its supporters have raised more than $450 million for research into medication, treatment and, ultimately, a cure.
“Nobody ever wants to be diagnosed and think, ‘This is it, it’s over,’” said Zimmer. “If anybody’s shown that you can fight it, obviously Michael J. Fox has,” she declared, recognizing Fox as an inspiration. “Why wouldn’t you support this?”
(Pictured: HBO’s director of original series Kathleen McCaffrey and actress Lena Dunham at the Raising the Bar to End Parkinson’s event at Public School 818)