Shuck Parkinson's

How A Dozen Oysters Can Help a Million People

By Erica Corsano

Photo courtesy of Shuck Parkinson's

Photo courtesy of Shuck Parkinson's

Michael J. Fox (AKA Alex P. Keaton and Marty McFly) shocked the world in 1998 when he revealed he had Parkinson’s disease.  The movement disorder which is often considered an “old man illness” can affect those younger than 40.  In fact, an estimated one million Americans are living with Parkinson’s disease. 

Shuck Parkinson’s, a grassroots community fundraising event based out of Boston, is part of The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF)— a foundation which the New York Times penned "the most credible voice on Parkinson's research in the world.”

We caught up with Alexandra Cherubini who started Shuck Parkinson’s to learn more.

Photo courtesy of Alexandra Cherubini 

Photo courtesy of Alexandra Cherubini 

How did you get involved with this organization?

My mom has been battling Parkinson’s for twenty plus years, and about 15 or so years ago, my family became involved with the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

For years, I have been wanting to hold a Team Fox event (100 percent of the money raised at Team Fox events goes directly to finding a cure and funding Parkinson’s research), and finally, in the beginning of September, we decided to make it happen!

Why did you feel Boston needed an event to raise more awareness for this cause/disease?

Parkinson’s is the second most common brain disease, and we need to find a cure!  I also find that a lot of people have someone in their lives with Parkinson’s but really do not know what it is, or how the disease can manifest itself from person to person.

What are some shocking and interesting things you have learned about Parkinson’s?

So MUCH!  One fact that I find shocking is that the most commonly used medication for Parkinson’s was developed in 1967, that is two years before Neil Armstrong walked on the moon!

The other shocking/interesting fact about Parkinson’s is that a blood test and/or a biomarker does not yet exist to diagnose the disease, so diagnosis is based on clinical signs, and whether or not a person responds to Parkinson’s medications.  So for my mom, she was ‘diagnosed’ in January of 1998, but looking back on it, had been showing signs years prior to the diagnosis. 

How did you come up with the cheeky event name? 

I wish I could remember it all in greater detail, but the one thing I do remember is that was about four years ago, and my husband, Camilo and I were eating Island Creek Oysters talking about how we needed to plan a fundraiser for the Fox Foundation.

What do you hope people will take away from your raising awareness?

Teamwork does make the dream work, and the more we can work together to raise awareness and fundraise, the quicker we will find a cure.

It was truly amazing to see how many people jumped in to help out with the event.  From the local companies that got involved (Island Creek Oyster, South End Formaggio, Wicked Good Cookies, Bruins Foundation, etc.) from those who donated to the event, those who attended, and from those who donated the amazing silent auction items.  It was truly incredible. 

How can people get involved and give back?

We started out with a 10k goal for the evening, and a few weeks before, we increased it to a stretch goal of 50K, we are currently now hovering around 70K and are hoping to hit 75k!

If anyone would like to help us reach that goal, we would be so appreciative!!!  There are also several Team Fox events around Boston (and other cities) that can be found on the Michael J. Fox Foundation website.

Again, 100 percent of all the money raised during this event goes directly to finding a cure for Parkinson’s.

To learn more or give back head to