Michael J Fox opens up on 'gift that keeps on taking' Parkinson's disease
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Michael J. Fox has opened up about living with Parkinson’s disease - saying life is ‘getting tougher’ and describing the disease as 'the gift that keeps on taking'.
The 61-year-old Back to the Future star has spoken candidly about his health over the years after his diagnosis aged 29 in 1991.
Fox retired from acting in 2020 because of his worsening symptoms, which include coordination difficulties, muscle stiffness, tremors and impaired movement.
In a new interview with CBS Sunday Mornings, the former Spin City actor shared: “My life is set up so I can pack Parkinson's along with me if I have to.
“You've not squandered any of your capacity, but at some point Parkinson's going to make the call for you, isn't it?" journalist Jane Pauley said of Fox's mortality.
The father-of-four replied: “Yeah, it's banging on the door.”
Parkinson's disease is 'a condition in which parts of the brain become progressively damaged over many years,' the NHS explains.
Most people with Parkinson’s develop symptoms when they’re over 50, however around one in 20 people with the condition first experience symptoms when they’re under 40.
Fox also shared that ‘it sucks’ having Parkinson’s and that he won’t live into his 80s.
He told Pauley: “It sucks, having Parkinson’s… It’s getting tougher, it’s getting harder, every day you suffer but that’s the way it is.”
Fox also shared details about some of his other health scares and injuries from falling, including breaking bones in his face and other parts of his body and the time he sought treatment for a benign tumour on his spine.
“All these subtle ways that get you, you don’t die from Parkinson’s, you die with [the condition]," he said.
"I’m not going to be 80. I won’t be 80.”
He continued: “I recognise how hard this is for people and recognise how hard it is for me but I have a certain set of skills that allow me to deal with this stuff and I realise, with gratitude, optimism is sustainable.
"If you can find something to be grateful for then you find something to look forward to and you carry on.”
After making his diagnosis public, Fox set up The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research in 2000, which he said has been 'an amazing thing'.
The foundation 'is dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson's disease through an aggressively funded research agenda and to ensuring the development of improved therapies for those living with Parkinson's today' and exists 'to accelerate the next generation of Parkinson’s disease (PD) treatments'.
The foundation has raised more than $1.75bn (£1.39bn), according to the charity’s website.