An open letter to Michael J. Fox

Dear Michael J. Fox,

Your Curb Your Enthusiasm appearances powerfully highlight the challenges and misconceptions those with chronic conditions face on a daily basis.

You’ve shown how one person’s story can make an impact and you have said that we’re given so few chances in this lifetime to make a real difference and change the world.

As you read this letter, millions of people around the world join with you in reading it as well…adding their memorable stories online and sharing with you their experience, living with chronic illness. All of these people are trying to make a difference.

I am asking you to share a simple story with Patient Commando. Maybe one that you might think is insignificant to others, but demonstrates nevertheless, how gritty it gets behind the hospital curtains along with the compliment of hilarity that sometimes is coupled with that experience. The more it is about thoughts and feelings, anxiety or relief, the better.

Together we can amplify the voices of those labelled with chronic condition and overcome what author Chimamanda Adichie coined as “the danger of a single story”: the idea that there’s only one way to tell a story and understand it.

You’ll find people similar to yourself, going online at and sharing their story whether in prose, video, poetry, song, or photo.

Our collection of stories from around the world includes those with international profile like tennis star Serena Williams revealing her struggle with Sjogrens syndrome, the incurable condition that forced her to drop out of the US Open; the late Kenneth Schwartz, lost to cancer at 41, whose legacy to patients is the renowned Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare; and the unknown like Ami Ankilewitz, a 34 year old with Muscular Dystrophy who is a lightweight at only 39 lbs but a heavyweight on the meaning of life.

Yet we are not actively looking for heroes, just real tales revealing the lives behind the doors of extraordinary challenge, the simplicity of human kindness, the emotional game of leapfrog to an acceptance of chronic illness.

By sharing a story with us, you’ll be encouraging millions of others to champion their own experience. By adding their collective voice to yours, they’ll be making a real difference, one story at a time.

Sincerely yours,

Zal Press Executive Director