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Michael J. Fox Says ‘Through All the Challenges’ Comes the ‘Good Stuff’ Amid Parkinson’s Battle

Michael J Fox Shares Health Update Amid Parkinson s Disease Battle 242
Michael J. Fox. Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for The Michael J. Fox Foundation

Michael J. Fox is reflecting on living with Parkinson’s disease more than 30 years after his diagnosis.

While attending his A Country Thing Happened on the Way to Cure Parkinson’s musical charity gala in Nashville earlier this week, the Back to the Future actor, 62, opened up about his health and how he won’t stop fighting to find a cure for the disease.

“After 35 years or something since I’ve been diagnosed, this is just my life and I don’t think about it much,” he told Entertainment Tonight. “I don’t even think about [it]. Except that I’m thinking about what we’re going to do as a community to figure this out and find a cure – and short of a cure, [create] treatment centers that are really groundbreaking.”

He continued, “Me personally, it’s just who I am, and the way I was built. And I’m necessarily trying to figure it out for me, I’m figuring it out for everybody. But it just is what it is. My life has been a great ride and it continues to be a great ride. And through all the challenges, it comes with all the good stuff.”

Michael J Fox Through the Years

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Fox – whose wife of 35 years, Tracy Pollan, accompanied him to the night’s event – also reflected on the outpouring of support he’s received from fans and friends alike after sharing his diagnosis.

“The support here is fantastic, and it’s nice to mix things up and go country,” Fox said of the gala, which benefited the Michael J. Fox Foundation. “It’s nice to be in Nashville.”

Michael J Fox Shares Health Update Amid Parkinson s Disease Battle 243
Stephane Cardinale – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

The Family Ties alum was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease while filming Doc Hollywood in 1991 at age 29. The “surprising and devastating” diagnosis came after he developed a tremor in his pinky finger and sought out a consultation with a neurologist, per the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

According to Mayo Clinic, Parkinson’s disease is a “progressive disorder that affects the nervous system and the parts of the body controlled by the nerves.” Symptoms typically start slowly, and the “first symptom may be a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand.” Other symptoms include slowed movement, rigid muscles, impaired posture and balance, speech changes and loss of automatic movements. There is no cure for Parkison’s disease.

Michael J Fox and Tracy Pollan Looked So in Love at the Time 100 Gala

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Ahead of the release of his 2023 documentary Still, Fox exclusively told Us Weekly why he remains an open book about the reality of living with Parkinson’s disease. The doc explores the actor’s life from his early days as a rising young star in Hollywood to the trials and triumphs of his professional and personal life after his diagnosis.

“I decided to create this documentary for a couple of reasons, first bringing awareness to this disease has been very important to me for years and I wanted to continue that work through film,” he explained. “The second is for my fans. They, along with my family, [have] been the reason I have been able to go on. As I say, my fans gave me life and I wanted to be open about mine.”

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