For decades, “Back to the Future” actor Michael J. Fox has battled Parkinson’s disease, a progressive neurological disorder. He was diagnosed in 1991 and has been living with it for the past thirty years.
However, the actor has always been optimistic, and rather than allowing the illness to weigh him down, he used it to help others by raising awareness and establishing a foundation to fund research.
His outstanding work over the years has not gone unnoticed, and he was recently recognized for his contribution to Parkinson’s research. On November 19, he was presented with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award by actor and long-time friend Woody Harrelson.
He accepted the Oscar statuette amid prolonged applause and joked that the audience would cause him to shake, referring to one of the disease’s symptoms. During his acceptance speech, he thanked everyone who helped the cause, especially his wife of 34 years, Tracy, who has always been by his side.
Fans on Twitter also praised the “Family Ties” actor for his advocacy work, noting that he was an example of courage and strength. One user described the actor as being loved by millions and “an inspiration to us all.”
Another fan expressed his inspiration while watching Fox receive his award, saying he was a beacon of hope for many. His bravery and determination have been admirable, and many people aspire to be like him. Another person commented on the actor’s previous updates about breaking his hand:
“Michael J. Fox will forever be in our thoughts. Such a brave man, and such an inspiration to others. He didn’t deserve this.”
How Does Michael J. Fox Remain So Optimistic despite His Struggles?
Suffering from a progressive illness is not easy, especially when it has been decades since his initial diagnosis. But Fox has something that many people don’t: optimism. He did not always have the optimism he does now, and he says he got it from his father-in-law, who lived by an appreciation mantra.
After breaking his left arm, Fox began to notice that, despite his difficulties, he was still grateful for other things and how others reacted to his difficulties with gratitude. He believes that if you appreciate everything you have, positivity and happiness will follow.
He has learned that being grateful does not require waiting for things to be perfect. Instead, he suggests being grateful for what you already have, and happiness will follow.
What Does Michael J. Fox Say about Empathy and Family Support?
Despite his optimism, Fox acknowledges that his family has played an important role in making his journey easier. He was diagnosed only three years after marrying Tracy, but she has remained by his side unwaveringly.
Fox once expressed his surprise after informing his wife of his diagnosis. He had hoped she would stick by him, but he was pleasantly surprised when she didn’t even blink at the news.
He admits that their marriage had to adjust after the diagnosis, and he had to learn that his illness affected more than just him.
But once they accepted their new situation, everything became easier. Despite his difficulties, the actor has remained true to himself. His wife still thinks he’s one of the nicest people she’s ever met.
The actor also appreciates his four children, three of whom have never seen him without the illness. They have remained supportive of their dad; he says he is living his best life because of them. He empathizes with his children and says:
“And there’s a certain latitude you have to give someone who has Parkinson’s. You can choose how nice to be and how much to do — and how much to know not to do. That’s all about empathy.”
Fox also appreciates his “Back To The Future” costar Christopher Lloyd, who had transitioned from being a costar to a brother and now a father figure to him.
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