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Hingham man joins Parkinson’s fight

Thursday September 24, 2009

Hingham Journal - John Fitzmaurice, a native of Hingham and a graduate of Hingham High School, is preparing for a great challenge: “Five for the Fight”.

For nearly 20 years John’s father, Ed Fitzmaurice, battled Parkinson’s Disease. During the last four years of his life, John returned home to help care for his ailing father. Often frustrated by the disease that was slowly taking his father’s life, John had trouble sitting idly by. During his efforts to learn more about Parkinson’s John discovered the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation was created to support research to develop better treatments for the nearly 5 million people worldwide living with Parkinson’s. It was through the foundation that John learned about its fundraising arm, Team Fox. It was then that John knew what he wanted to do to make a difference. An athlete and avid runner for years, John decided in 2006 to run his first marathon as a tribute to his father whom was then in Stage IV of Lewey Body Dementia, a Parkinson-related disease.

On Nov. 5, 2006, John ran the New York City Marathon as a member of Team Fox. In addition to the rigorous training schedule to prepare for the famed 26.2 miles he was about to run, John worked hard to raise over $4,000 in just six weeks. Upon completing his first marathon, John felt tremendously proud of his accomplishment but this emotion was short-lived.

His father’s condition had worsened while John was running. John and his mother, Mary, whom had come to New York to support him, quickly returned home to Massachusetts.

A few days later, Ed Fitzmaurice lost his battle. Ed passed away on Nov. 12, 2006 leaving his wife, Mary, of 50 years, John’s three older brothers Ed, Mike and Jim, and his younger sister, Susan. The entire Fitzmaurice family took the loss hard, but John made a promise to himself that he would continue to run marathons and raise funds in his father’s name. In April 2007, John ran his first Boston Marathon and then followed with the Marine Corps. Marathon in October 2008.

John is now preparing for an even greater challenge. Coming up with the idea of “Five for the Fight” — five marathons run for Team Fox, John has decided to run two marathons in one week. On Oct. 25, John will run the Marine Corps. Marathon — his fourth marathon — and on Nov. 1, he will run the marathon that started it all: the New York City Marathon.

In order to run for Team Fox, John must raise a minimum of $2,500 but his ultimate goal by the end of the year is $10,000. To support this goal he has come up with “Five for the Fight”. He is hoping to get as many donations of at least 5 dollars or more to reach his goal by the year’s end. Because of his continued commitment to finding a cure and his ongoing fundraising efforts, John and two other members of Team Fox were recently recognized at the start of the August 22 Red Sox Yankees game at Fenway Park. The team was brought onto the field and recognized by MJFF CEO Katie Hood.

John said of the ceremony, “It was a great honor to be recognized for my small fundraising challenges, but the real heros are the people who fight this disease on a daily basis. The ceremony validated my resolve to continue to do what I can for TEAMFOX and the Michael J Fox foundation.”

As John undertakes his newest challenge, his son Matthew, a freshman at Marshfield High School and his father’s greatest supporter, hopes to attend both marathons. To help support John in his fight against Parkinson’s Disease, please visit his Team Fox page at WWW.TEAMFOX.ORG and search on find a member or event and search by John’s last name “Fitzmaurice”.