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‘I’m Kind Of A Freak’: Michael J. Fox Discusses 30 Years Of Parkinson’s

Hannah Blackiston


‘I’m Kind Of A Freak’: Michael J. Fox Discusses 30 Years Of Parkinson’s

Featured Image Credit: SOPA Images Limited / Alamy Stock Photo

Michael J. Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 1991 and his doctor told him he had 10 years left of being able to work.

The actor, who only retired last year, says 'it's weird' that he's done so well with the disorder that causes nerve cells in the brain to break down or die over time, causing tremors, stiffness and a slowing of movement.

In an incredibly wholesome interview with AARP, Fox says he's incredibly grateful for what he's been able to do and that he is ready for the next phase of his life.

Moviestore Collection Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo
Moviestore Collection Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo

"People often think of Parkinson's as a visual thing, but the visuals of it are nothing," he says.

"It's what you can't see - the lack of an inner gyroscope, of a sense of balance, of peripheral perception. I mean, I'm sailing a ship on stormy seas on the brightest of days."

The actor, who turned 60 in June, rose to fame in the 80s on Family Ties before going on to become part of the zeitgeist as Marty McFly in the Back to the Future franchise.

He told AARP he knows Parkinson's won't be cured in his lifetime.

"I'm really blunt with people about cures. When they ask me if I will be relieved of Parkinson's in my lifetime, I say, 'I'm 60 years old, and science is hard. So, no'," he said.

Trevor Collens / Alamy Stock Photo
Trevor Collens / Alamy Stock Photo

"Some days are a struggle. Some days are more difficult than others.

"But the disease is this thing that's attached to my life - it isn't the driver."

Fox reflected on the luck he's had in his career and acknowledges that his experience dealing with Parkinson's as someone with access to wealth and 'things others don't' has made his experience very different.

But he says he does have some regrets from his career now he's at the end of acting.

In particular, he wishes he agreed to star in Ghost,which ultimately went to Patrick Swayze.

Pictorial Press Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo
Pictorial Press Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo

One thing he's very proud of is the work he's done with his foundation, The Michael J. Fox Foundation, which is trying to find biomarkers for Parkinson's to treat people before they show symptoms.

Fox says he launched the foundation with cofounder Deborah Brooks after Spin City, wanting to use his success to do nothing other than 'get the money to science to find a cure'.

Fox has already fought his way through setbacks, including an incident in 2018 after surgeons partially removed a benign tumour that had coiled around his spinal cord, forcing him to learn to walk again.

He fell four months later, shattering his arm, which sent him into a 'prolonged dark patch'.

But Fox says he's a 'genuinely happy guy' and he 'doesn't fear death at all', which helps him push through the dark days.

"[If] you don't think you have anything to be grateful for, keep looking. Because you don't just receive optimism. You can't wait for things to be great and then be grateful for that. You've got to behave in a way that promotes that."

Topics: Entertainment, TV and Film, Celebrity, Inspirational

Hannah Blackiston
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