Michael J. Fox believes he won’t see the cure for Parkinson’s in his lifetime and he says he has come to terms with it.
The actor spoke to AARP in a candid interview about his disease, his future and his unending optimism.
Opening up about his disease, he said, “I’m really blunt with people about cures. When they ask me if I will be relieved of Parkinson’s in my lifetime, I say, ‘I’m 60 years old, and science is hard. So, no.’”
Despite his belief, Fox still has a positive outlook towards how to live with his condition.
“Some days are a struggle. Some days are more difficult than others. But the disease is this thing that’s attached to my life — it isn’t the driver,” he explained.
The star acknowledged that he was a position of privilege compared to other people, and said, “And because I have assets, I have access to things others don’t. I wouldn’t begin to compare my experience to that of a working guy who gets Parkinson’s and has to quit his job and find a new way to live. So, I’m really lucky.”
There are some misconceptions about Parkinson’s that Fox wanted to clear up.
“People often think of Parkinson’s as a visual thing, but the visuals of it are nothing. On any given day, my hands could be barely shaking or they could be…” he made wild hand gestures in demonstration. “It’s what you can’t see — the lack of an inner gyroscope, of a sense of balance, of peripheral perception. I mean, I’m sailing a ship on stormy seas on the brightest of days.”
The star has dealt with stormy days, going through a “darkness” of his own.
In 2018, he came home from a procedure to remove a tumour from his spine only to fall and shatter his left arm. He had advice for anyone stuck in that dark place: “And if you don’t think you have anything to be grateful for, keep looking. Because you don’t just receive optimism. You can’t wait for things to be great and then be grateful for that. You’ve got to behave in a way that promotes that.”
The “Back to the Future” actor founded the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research in 2000 and has since raised $1 billion dollars for research into the disease.
The 60-year-old star is also the recipient of the 2022 AARP Purpose Prize.