Michael J. Fox reflects on the life changing moment he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s

May 18, 2023
Despite the difficulties he has faced as a result of his condition, Fox explained that he considers Parkinson's "a gift". Source: Getty Images.

In a deeply moving interview, Back to the Future star Michael J. Fox has opened up about the moment he received his life-altering Parkinson’s disease diagnosis.

After being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991, Fox revealed his condition to the public in 1998. Ever since, he has devoted a significant portion of his life to researching the disease, donating millions of dollars towards its eradication and working to reduce the stigma associated with it.

Now in a recent interview with The Project, Fox has described the profound moment in which he found himself faced with the reality that he would battle the debilitating condition for the rest of his life.

“I said something to the effect of, ‘I don‘t get this. You can‘t be telling me I have this’,” he said.

“Then he said, ‘You lose with this. You don’t win with this. There is no winning.’ For me, that was astounding because I’ve always based everything on winning.”

Despite the difficulties he has faced as a result of his condition, Fox explained that he considers Parkinson’s “a gift”.

“I always say progress is a gift and people say to me, ‘How can you possibly describe it as a gift?’ And I say, ‘It is the gift that keeps on taking, but it is a gift’,” he said.

“I’m really happy with the way my life has turned out and I love the chance I have to be of service.”

Although Fox has demonstrated unwavering determination in the face of his debilitating disease, he recently shared that he has been facing more and more challenges in his day-to-day life.

“I’ve been thinking about the mortality of it. I’m not gonna be 80,” he revealed to CBS Sunday Morning.

“I’m not going to lie, it’s getting hard, it’s getting harder. Every day is tougher. But, but that’s the way it is.”

Fox offered further insight into the impact of Parkinson’s, shining a light on the dangers he regularly faces since his diagnosis.

“(Falling) is a big killer with Parkinson’s,” Fox said.

“It’s falling, and aspirating food and pneumonia – all these subtle ways that (it) gets you.

“You die with Parkinson’s.”

Following his diagnosis, Fox has worked tirelessly to help find a cure for the disease which saw him recently receive an honorary Oscar at the Academy’s 13th Governors Awards last November 2022 for his effort.

At the time, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that Fox would be getting the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for his “incredible contributions to cinema and the world at large”.

“Fox’s tireless advocacy of research on Parkinson’s disease alongside his boundless optimism exemplifies the impact of one person in changing the future for millions,” Academy President David Rubin said in a statement.

Since establishing the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research in 2000, the actor has raised more than AUD$ 2.25 billion (US$ 1.5 billion) into research for the disease.

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