As Michael J. Fox says good-bye to viewers of his hit television show "Spin City" tonight, a Columbia-based company expects to be saying hello to hundreds of thousands of his fans.
iSky Inc., a customer relationship management company, is fielding calls and manning the Web site as donations come to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, which was launched yesterday."We're going to be handling the foundation's inquiries and contributors," said Rich Hebert, president and chief executive officer of iSKY.
Fox was diagnosed in 1991 with young-onset Parkinson's disease. In 1998, he announced his illness and made his battle with the disease a public one. In January, Fox said he would be leaving "Spin City," and tonight's season finale of the show will also be Fox's last episode.
After the program, which airs from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. on ABC, Fox is scheduled to make a public service announcement about Parkinson's. He will also air the address for his new Web site, www.michaeljfox.org, and a phone number for viewers to call to make donations to the foundation.
iSKY, which has a communication center in Laurel and five others elsewhere in North America, has been hired to take the calls. The 1,300-employee company fields customer service calls via phone, fax, e-mail and the internet.
Its clients include BMW, Porsche, American Express, the American Red Cross, Harley Davidson and, now, the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.
Denver Frederick, who has been hired to help launch the foundation, said it's difficult to predict how many donations will come in after the show tonight. The program has about 20 million viewers, he said.