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Is Michael J. Fox The Right Spokes Person For Stem Cell Research?

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What makes an effective sales person? Is it the look they portray? Is it the way in which they speak? Could it be the perception of experience the spokes person has with the product? Perhaps it is the moral being of the message its self? I recently came across a commercial that actor Michael J. Fox had taped. Michael J. Fox has been suffering from Parkinson's Disease since 1991. In the commercial Mr. Fox is giving a speech in support of Stem Cell research. Fox is center screen in a sitting position; he begins to sway as a result of his debilitating illness. As he begins to speak you can hear a wavering in his voice, almost as if he was unsure of what or to whom he was speaking to, then the audience becomes aware that this too is a side effect of his condition. Fox speaks toward the idea that stem cell research is a vital part of our society and not enough has been done by public officials to forward this research in the direction it needs to go, he finishes by stating that stem cell research is necessary and that Claire McCaskill is the person to elect as senator to get the job done. Many people were skeptic of Fox's commercials saying that Fox over played the part, other people believed that Fox was genuine in his attempt to show people why stem cell research in necessary. I believe that regardless of Fox embellishing his disease or not, he does have a problem that could possibly be remedied by stem cell research; therefore making him a perfect spokes person for the cause.

If there is a foundation to be spoken about, there is a celebrity to do the job. So what makes Michael J. Fox a credible source for promotion of stem cell research? His history; Michael J. Fox was born Michael Andrew Fox in 1961, in Alberta Canada. Fox is a self proclaimed "army brat", while his dad was serving in the armed forces; Michael pursued a career in the National Hockey League (NHL). Eventually Michael gave up his dream of being a hockey pro and found his way to Los Angeles to become an actor. His movie and sitcom career was as remarkable as anyone else's. Michael J. Fox was well known as "Marty" from the movies in the Back to the Future trilogy; he is also known for several T.V. sitcom roles such as Spin City and Family Ties. Michael announced his "retirement" from Spin City in 2000 after he hit is landmark 100th episode. Shortly following his retirement from the Golden Globe and Emmy winning show, Fox stated that his life's campaign would be to find the cause and the cure to this debilitating ailment. Fox being raised as a normal kid in Canada gives him an advantage over other celebrities that society cannot relate to.

Imagine having an ailment that caused degeneration in your central nervous system. Little by little the movements you make, the way your senses work, and even the way your brain thinks and remembers things changes or diminishes. There is no known cause for Parkinson's therefore there are no known cures either. Medications slow the rate at which the body deteriorates and can even dull the responses to which the brain sends out to make the body twitch or slur. In essence the body sends a signal to its cells in the nervous system telling these cells to commit cellular suicide. Stem cells are cells that are taken from various parts of the body that the body has not yet "assigned" a function, stem cells are principally a blank slate. Stem cells have a bad stigma to them because of their unknown nature and negative stereotypes associated with un-used embryos and "harvesting" of stem cells. When stem cells were first discovered, embryonic cells were primarily used to generate cells that could be used to produce new regenerative cells that could replace damaged cells in a person's body. Stem cells could be used to reproduce damaged nervous system cells destroyed by Parkinson's disease, thus bringing Michael one step closer to his ultimate goal. Stem cell research for Parkinson's and other sicknesses is politically charged and can sometimes be a sensitive issue.

Many people were skeptical of Fox's actual condition when Michael J. Fox released his commercial supporting stem cell research. Such personalities as Rush Limbaugh spoke against Fox saying he was either acting or had purposely not taken his medicine that limits Fox's tremors in order to sensationalize the commercial and glorify stem cell research.



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