Cameron Harris, a senior at Millburn High School, created a club called the Teen Fox Club to help raise money for Parkinson’s disease.
Harris, along with her sister Elizabeth, a freshman at the high school, and fellow senior Uliana Bilash, all have grandparents with Parkinson’s disease and wanted to help the younger generation get involved in the cause.
“The club was formed to help fundraise for Parkinson’s disease,” Harris said in a phone interview with Patch. “My grandmother has Parkinson’s and that is why we all wanted to do this together. We created our team within the Team Fox Organization and called it Teen Fox because its about teens raising money for the disease.”
Harris stated the group raises money that is given directly to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, a foundation dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease. Team Fox for Parkinson's disease is a community fundraising program within the Michael J. Fox Foundation. New members join every day and have raised over $20 million for Parkinson's research, according to the Team Fox website.
Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder that affects one in 100 people over age 60, according to the Michael J. Fox Foundation website. Parkinson’s is one of several diseases categorized by clinicians as movement disorders. The disease can affect speech, physical movements, sense of smell and other bodily movements. It is generally a disease that affects the older generation, but younger people, as young as 18-years-old, have been diagnosed before.
The Teen Fox Club group began their efforts around Spring 2012, according to Harris, after Harris attended a Parkinson’s event with her family and saw the lack of younger people participating.
“My aunt has her own team within the Michael J. Fox Foundation and I went to an event she held in April 2012 and I thought there were not a lot of kids my age getting involved,” Harris said. “We know that Parkinson’s is becoming a well-known disease and we are trying to specifically raise awareness with high school students and the younger generation.”
Teen Fox Club held their first fundraiser from Oct. 28 to Nov. 1, 2013 called ‘Make a Change.’
“At the first fundraiser, we set up a table outside the cafeteria with a big empty water bottle jug and students came by the table and donated any change they had in their pockets,” Harris said. “We raised over $200 just from loose change that went directly to the Michael J. Fox Foundation.”
Harris stated the club is looking to do many events this school year, including a lollipop sale and pancake breakfast.
“We plan on having a lollipop sale within the next two to three weeks,” Harris said.
Although she and Bilash are graduating seniors this year, Harris stated she believes her sister Elizabeth will continue to be in the club and raise money.
“Elizabeth is a freshman and she will continue the club and raise awareness and money for the foundation when we leave,” Harris said.
“We hope is that with our generation, we can create a name
for Parkinson’s disease and have an impact on it,” Harris said. “More and more
people are being diagnosed and we want to try and help find a cure sooner
rather than later.”