Michael Andrew Fox also known as Michael J. Fox is a Canadian American actor, author, and activist. The actor is most known for his role in the Back to the Future trilogy as Marty McFly and he has amassed five Emmys, four Golden Globes, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards. The 56-year-old from Edmonton, Canada, publicly announced that he was dealing with Parkinson’s disease in 1998 but was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s at age 29 in 1991. Michael has also revealed how he’s coping with the condition.
In an interview with AARP Magazine, Michael said: ‘After I made my diagnosis public back in 1998, I began to realize that Parkinson’s gives you two things to reckon with. You deal with the condition, and you deal with people’s perception of the condition. It was easy for me to tune in to the way other people were looking into my eyes and seeing their own fear reflected back. I’d assure them that ‘I’m doing great’ – because I was. After a while, the disconnect between the way I felt and the dread people were projecting just seemed, you know, funny.’
In 2000, Michael partially announced a retirement after his disease worsened and since then he has devoted his time, energy and finances into finding a cure for Parkinson’s as well as creating the Michael J. Fox Foundation to create awareness. While there is no cure yet for Parkinson’s, Michael hopes that his foundation can create or spark the mind that will come up with the cure.
During an interview with AARP Magazine and more than twenty years after Michael’s diagnosis, Michael informed his fans of his current health status, confirming what we have all suspected all along—living with Parkinson’s has not been easy for the actor. He said: ‘My visible symptoms are distracting, but none of them hurt. The only real pain I get is in my feet, which sometimes shuffle and curl up in cramps when I’m sleeping—which is why I keep a very stiff pair of shoes on the floor next to my bed.’
Since the genesis of his foundation, the Michael J. Fox Foundation has raised more than 700 million dollars for Parkinson’s research. He even got the stamp of approval from the late, great Muhammad Ali. In his interview with AARP Magazine, Michael said: ‘Muhammad Ali called me at home. And in this raspy, paper-thin voice, he said, ‘ahhhhh… Michael, now that you’re in it, we’ll win this fight.’ What could I say? Sitting there alone listening to Muhammad Ali, this giant – I was welling up, almost openly weeping.’
Michael continued by saying: ‘A funny thing happened. Doctors reached out to me. And I reached out to doctors. More important, the Parkinson’s community reached out to me, and I immediately felt better, just empowered, knowing there were people who understood what I was going through. It was also empowering for physicians, specialists and researchers I began meeting all over the country.’
And as reported by USA Today, it was over the weekend when Michael’s spokeswoman said that the 46-year-old actor was recovering from a spinal surgery that was not related to his disease. His representative, Leslie Sloane said: ‘Michael J. Fox recently underwent spinal surgery unrelated to his Parkinson’s. He is recovering, feeling great, and looking forward to getting back on the golf course this summer.’