Turning fandom into passion
Dec 01, 2017 08h00
By Natalie Mollinet
Team Fox gave Becky Keddington the opportunity to meet Michael J. Fox, one of her heroes. (Becky Keddington/Team Fox)
Most people have heard the actor Michael .J Fox’s story, being the star of “Back To The Future” and then at an early age being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991. Probably the biggest fan of the “Back to the Future” trilogy in Utah lives in Sugar House, and after being a fan of the show for so many years, she discovered how she could help her favorite time traveler and others out in the real world.
“I admired his optimism and determination and always wanted to do something to contribute with Parkinson’s research,” Becky Keddington, who is that Sugar House fan as well as a member of Team Fox, said. “The desire came not only because of my fandom but with my interests in health care and helping others.”
Keddington, after being a fan of Fox’s films, did research on Fox and discovered The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. And because of her undergrad in psychology with a focus on neuroscience, she learned more about Parkinson’s and felt a connection with the foundation.
Keddingon said, “Learning the science and progression behind Parkinson’s disease and research possibilities definitely increased my desire to find a way to help more than just donating to the Michael J. Fox Foundation website for a cure.”
In 1998, Fox, after disclosing his condition to the public, committed himself to campaign for more research into Parkinson’s disease. He later launched The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and today is the largest nonprofit funder of Parkinson’s drug development in the world. Keddington loved what the foundation stood for and knew she had to get involved, so she found a way.
“In the ‘Back To the Future’ community, there is a well-known DeLorean Time Machine built by Terry and Oliver Holler,” Keddington said. “They drive this car across the world to raise awareness for the foundation through Team Fox.”
Keddington followed their adventures and saw that they were trying to get to Hawaii for Team Fox and asked for help seeing “Back to the Future” bandanas on eBay. She knew she could get behind this and immediately messaged them about how she admired them for what they were doing and how much she appreciated it. She then found out they were coming to Salt Lake Comic-Con and she decided there she could ask them in person about the foundation.
“I had mentioned that I had contributed to their Hawaii trip and they knew who I was instantly and took me in instant friendship,” Keddington said. “Their journey started very similar to mine with the love of the trilogy, Michael J. Fox as a person, and a desire to help those in need.”
Since then, Keddington has traveled with them to Wizard World and other Comic-Con like conventions as well as the “Back to the Future” 30th Anniversary “We’re Going Back” event in California to help them with donations and fan’s questions. Keddington is now a member of Team Fox and enjoys every moment of it.
“When you have people come up to you who suffer from Parkinson’s and thank you for everything you are doing to help find a cure and how grateful they are for you, it really makes the desire stronger,” Keddington said.
She met Michael J. Fox and says he is wonderful, sincere, quiet and kind.
“Having the opportunity to be part of Team Fox as well as the ‘Back to the Future’ community makes me feel at home,” Keddington said. “I feel like a hole has been filled in my heart by being able to work side by side with people I’ve looked up to for half of my life.”