Watching Back to the Future all those years ago we were treated to a young actor launching himself into a stellar career; Michael J Fox as Marty McFly was a heartthrob to all those big-haired, big-shoulder-padded girls and the guy all the Nike wearing, baseball jacketed high school jocks wanted to be – not least because of his awesome time travelling Delorien.
If Fox had been able to travel into the future for real he’d have found himself suffering with Parkinson’s Disease; a debilitating illness which causes muscular problems, shaking, inability to swallow properly or form facial expressions, aches and pains in the muscles and it can also cause sufferers to lose balance.
Fox was unfortunately diagnosed in 1991 at the age of 30 which is a young age for the illness to take hold as it normally only becomes apparent after the age of 50. He kept it under wraps for seven years before announcing to the public that he was coming to terms with it.
Now at the age of 51 he no longer regards the illness as a setback or view life as a battle and he has worked tirelessly to raise awareness and money for the cause through the Michael J Fox Foundation. He is among the 50-60,000 new cases of Parkinson’s diagnosed every year in the USA alone and he is on a mission to find a cure or at least the root cause of the illness.
For years he battled with the difficulties associated with the illness but nowadays he is far more relaxed about the situation and is setting a good example to other celebrities and sufferers of Parkinson’s who see him as a ray of hope that they too can still enjoy their lives despite the physical constraints imposed by Parkinson’s Disease.
A positive attitude has seen him through the worst of it and that has come through acceptance. He once said that there was no point worrying about it, not him or anyone, because if you do that you live it twice.
And of the illness itself and how it makes him appear Fox said, “People ask me, ‘Does it bother you when you shake in front of people?’ ”
“No. It sometimes bothers me when I can’t do what I want, but I don’t give a damn how it looks.”