Just as France was being chastised for excessive national borrowing with a sovereign debt downgrade, thousands of lucky French people had their financial obligations forgiven after the country’s oldest bank decided to simply wipe their slate clean.
Granted, it’s a small slate. The 3,500 clients who benefitted from the bank’s largesse had debts of 150 euros or less (about $190) with the Crédit Municipal de Paris, also known as the “Mont-de-piété,” the bank of the poor, which has for centuries allowed the needy to get loans against their valuables—a kind of ethical pawnshop, or the original microlender. The small kindness was welcome for many.
"I’m very happy, it’s the first time I get something for nothing," said Geneviève, an elegant woman in her fifties who was at the bank to get back a gold coin and a small wedding band she had pawned three years ago. "There came a point when I needed money. They’re not worth much but they’re important to me."
The unexpected gift is a way for the bank to celebrate its 375th anniversary. The Crédit Municipal de Paris was created in 1637 by Théophraste Renaudot, a doctor, journalist and philanthropist who wanted to combat poverty by giving the needy access to fair banking.
An 85-year-old Alaskan woman recently fended off a large attacker. The culprit? A moose. Anyone who’s seen one knows they are not to be messed around with but when the woman saw the animal attacking her husband she didn’t think twice about defending him…with a shovel.
As Marty McFly, he took us Back to the Future. Now, through his work leading The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF), actor and activist Michael J. Fox is helping to usher in a new future for people with Parkinson’s disease (PD)—one filled with hope.
“I know without fail that we are getting closer—day by day, year by year—to the breakthroughs that will make finding a cure inevitable,” Fox tells Neurology Now. “A lot of work lies ahead of us. But this is a responsibility we have, and we want people to know someone is trying to get this work done.”
The Canadian-born Fox, now 50, became a household name worldwide in the early 1980s, starring as the endearing preppy Alex P. Keaton on the smash TV series Family Ties.
Success on the small screen paved the way for movie stardom, and in 1985 Fox turned in one of the most iconic and beloved performances of modern movie history: Back to the Future’s Marty McFly, an ’80s teen who experiences serious culture shock when he travels back in time to the poodle-skirts and soda shops of his parents’ adolescence in the ’50s. The Steven Spielberg–produced film was an extraordinary success, both critically and commercially, and spawned two sequels.
Then in 1991, while filming Doc Hollywood (in which he played, ironically, a doctor), Fox began to experience strange physical sensations. Later that year, when he was 30 years old, he was diagnosed with young-onset (Parkinson’s disease).
Fox stepped down from full-time acting in 2000. At the time, he’d been starring as Mike Flaherty, Deputy Mayor of New York City, on the TV show Spin City—a role he’d been playing since 1996 and for which he had earned another three Golden Globe awards and another Emmy.
Less than a year after Fox stepped down from full-time acting, MJFF (The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research) was born.
“It’s ironic that I had to quit my day job to do my life’s work,” Fox says. “I’ve been fortunate to have had not just one, but two careers that I’m passionate about.
And I’m convinced that I couldn’t have had one without the other. Television plucked me from obscurity and, in many ways, helped prepare me for challenges and opportunities that I never saw coming but that were the greatest of my life.” […]