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Michael J. Fox Hosts Parkinson’s Benefit With Sheryl Crow, Little Big Town and Jason Isbell: PICS!

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Michael J. Fox is going country, for a good cause. 

The actor, activist and philanthropist came out to Nashville — alongside his wife, Tracy Pollan — on Tuesday for this year’s A Country Thing Happened on the Way to Cure Parkinson’s – a musical charity gala benefiting the Michael J. Fox Foundation — held on Tuesday at the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts in Nashville.

Fox, 62, lent his warmth and charm to the annual gala — which is a spin-off event from the foundation’s annual comedy charity benefit, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Cure Parkinson’s — and celebrated some of the night’s guest performers, including Sheryl Crow, Little Big Town and Jason Isbell

Terry Wyatt/Getty Images

ET’s Rachel Smith spoke with Fox — as well as the night’s headlining country stars — about the event, and how it all came together.

“The first time we had a great time and just, we had a relationship with [artists like] Brad Paisley, last year, and Little Big Town helped us out last year. And Sheryl [Crow] was available, and it just seemed like a great thing to do again,” Fox explained. “The support here is fantastic. And it’s nice to mix things up and go country.”

Little Big Town perform live during the A Country Thing Happened On The Way To Cure Parkinson's in Nashville on Apr. 2, 2024. – Terry Wyatt/Getty Images

Little Big Town’s Kimberly Schlapman spoke at the event about how her own life was impacted by Parkinson’s disease, after her mother was diagnosed — something she first revealed last year ahead of the inaugural gala.

“My momma, she has Parkinson’s, and so my besties here give up their night so that we can raise money to end this wretched disease,” Schlapman told ET on the carpet, while joined by her friend and bandmates, Karen Fairchild, Jimi Westbrook and Phillip Sweet. ”And we’re getting closer and closer, so that’s why we keep coming back. One day, there’s going to be a cure.”

Kimberly Schlapman of Little Big Town spoke on stage about her mother's Parkinson's battle during the A Country Thing Happened On The Way To Cure Parkinson's in Nashville on Apr. 2, 2024. – Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Schlapman went on to praise Fox for all his efforts in finding a cure and establishing treatment centers through his hard work and his foundation.

“Michael is just an angel,” Schlapman said. “I mean, look what he’s done with his life, and he’s the reason there’s so much attention on Parkinson’s and all this money for research. It’s just incredibly special.”

Isbell also took the stage to perform, and the Weathervanes artist was dressed to the nines as he belted out some tunes from the guests in attendance at the large performance venue.

Jason Isbell performs on-stage during A Country Thing Happened On The Way To Cure Parkinson's gala in Nashville on Apr. 2, 2024. – Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

“I spent some time talking to Michael and Tracy and their kids, and I was just moved by the whole thing,” Isbell told ET about why he felt compelled to participate in the benefit event. “I really feel like what they’re doing is more than just getting together and having a party, you know? They’re making significant change and really, scientifically improving the lives of people who have Parkinson’s. So it was a big deal for me.”

Jason Isbell sang for the crowd during the charity benefit A Country Thing Happened On The Way To Cure Parkinson's in Nashville on Apr. 2, 2024. – Terry Wyatt/Getty Images

Reflecting on his experience getting to meet Fox, Isbell said the thing that left the biggest impact on him was his “positivity.”

“When he started seeing symptoms… I might have given up — and a lot of people probably would have,” Isbell continued. “Instead, he took his life as an entertainer and an actor and made it something so much bigger, and connected with so many people.”

Pollan — Fox’s beloved wife of 35 years — also spoke with ET ahead of the event, in between sharing the red carpet spotlight with Sheryl Crow and the night’s guest performers.

Sheryl Crow, Michael J. Fox and Tracy Pollan at the A Country Thing Happened On The Way To Cure Parkinson's gala in Nashville on Apr. 2, 2024. – Terry Wyatt/Getty Images

Reflecting on the monumental fundraising success of the Michael J. Fox Foundation — which has raised more than $2 billion in funding for research and treatment efforts — Pollan said, “It’s crazy! I mean, you never think about that when you start, and then you’re plugging, you’re plugging, you’re plugging, and then you turn around and you look back and you’re like, ‘Wow, this is really amazing!'”

“It’s so much bigger [than yourself], and when it really hits home is when you meet somebody whose family — or they — have been affected by Parkinson’s, and they just look at you and they just say, ‘Thank you so much for everything you’ve done,'” she added. “And then you just realize the impact.”

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