If you thought actor Ryan Reynolds, (who’s portraying the Green Lantern in an upcoming and widely anticipated movie) was just a hero on the silver screen, you’d be mistaken.  Sitting on the Board of Directors of The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, he’s challenging his fans and the general public to get involved in helping to speed a cure for Parkinson’s by “liking” the Foundation’s Facebook page (facebook.com/michaeljfoxfoundation). If the Foundation reaches 100,000 Facebook fans as part of its national Parkinson’s Awareness Month campaign, Reynolds will add $10,000 to his cumulative giving to the Foundation.

This is not the first time that Reynolds, who plays the superhero at the center of the soon-to-be-released film adaption of DC Comics’ ‘Green Lantern,’ has found a creative way to raise funds and awareness for the Foundation. As a member of Team Fox, the Foundation’s grassroots fundraising network, Reynolds ran the ING NYC Marathon, his first, in 2008. He wrote extensively about the decision to run on his Huffington Post blog, engaging his fan base and ultimately raising over $100,000 for Parkinson’s research. Reynolds’ finish time of 3:50:22 inspired another Team Fox fundraiser, Tim Reid, to launch the “Beating Ryan Reynolds” campaign the following year, running the 2009 ING NYC Marathon in 3:38:45 and raising an additional $26,000 to benefit the Foundation.

Reynolds wrote about running the NYC Marathon on his Huffington Post blog: “Why on earth would I willfully do this? On behalf of my father… who’s spent the last 15 years in a life or death struggle with Parkinson’s disease.” He continues, “A year and a half ago, I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Michael J. Fox. Like so many before me, I found it impossible not to be touched by his story of overwhelming strength, passion and relentless commitment to help those afflicted with this insidious disease. The man is inspiration exemplified… In a moment of extremely poor judgment, I offered to do something big for him — I offered to compete in the New York City Marathon.”

Halfway through April, MJFF is nearly a third of the way to its goal. In addition to clicking “like,” visitors to the Foundation’s Facebook page can upload their personal stories in video, pictures or writing to share how they are “in” the fight against PD with MJFF and its community of friends and supporters.

The Foundation has also created a widget that will allow instant “likes” with one click and encourages everyone with a Web site or blog to share it today. Get the embed code here: http://t.wbx.me/e085a.

Michael J. Fox says: “We couldn’t be more grateful to Ryan for his creativity and generosity in helping us spread the word about our work to speed a cure for PD. Ryan’s in — are you?”

As the world’s largest private funder of Parkinson’s research, The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to accelerating a cure for Parkinson’s disease and improved therapies for those living with the condition today. The Foundation pursues its goals through an aggressively funded, highly targeted research program coupled with active global engagement of scientists, Parkinson’s patients, business leaders, clinical trial participants, donors and volunteers.  In addition to funding over $233 million in research to date, the Foundation has fundamentally altered the trajectory of progress toward a cure. Operating at the hub of worldwide Parkinson’s research, the Foundation forges groundbreaking collaborations with industry leaders, academic scientists and government research funders; increases Parkinson’s awareness through high-profile advocacy, events and outreach; and coordinates the grassroots involvement of thousands of Team Fox members around the world.

In observation of Parkinson’s Awareness Month, Mayor Michael Bloomberg proclaimed April 8, 2011, “The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research Day” in New York City. To help mark the occasion, the Empire State Building was lit orange in honor of the Foundation and Parkinson’s patients, researchers and supporters worldwide.