Michael J. Fox is a well-known name in the fight against Parkinson’s. The actor, through his foundation, is an advocate for research aimed at a cure for Parkinson’s and the development of therapies for those living with the condition.
Fox has a fellow advocate in actor Ryan Reynolds, who has been personally touched by Parkinson’s. As he said in a Today interview earlier this week, his father has Parkinson’s. He spoke openly about how the diagnosis affected all members of his family.
“[My father] comes from a pretty prideful generation. And he doesn’t really talk about it too much. But, he’s maybe said it once or twice out loud. I think one of the interesting things about having a family member who’s diagnosed with this particular disease, who isn’t really engaging in an active fight against it, it kind of galvanised everybody else to seek resources. And for us, in a strange way, it’s really kind of brought us together.”
For Today‘s Willie Geist, the interview also struck a personal note. Like Reynolds, Geist’s father also has Parkinson’s.
Ryan’s association with the Michael J. Fox Foundation is not new. As Hello magazine reports, Reynolds joined in 2008, 10 years after the organization’s inception. He now sits on the board.
Fox said he kept his diagnosis secret for seven years before going public, and alluded to the emotions felt over the condition in the Today interview. The actor, who is now 53, was diagnosed at the age of 30.
“[Parkinsons is] a degenerative progressive disease so you can’t say ‘you can expect this from being associated with me in life henceforth’ and also there’s this shame in illness… Once I made my diagnosis known, it’s been a tremendous opportunity and a tremendous privilege.”
Fox achieved great success as an actor with plum roles in Family Ties and the Back to the Future movies. He was starring in Spin City when, in 1999, he went public with his Parkinson’s diagnosis. He left the show the following year to start his foundation.
Ryan Reynolds, like Fox, was born in Canada, in Vancouver where Fox spent much of his childhood. Reynolds is known not only for his acting career in films such as The Green Lantern, but his high-profile romantic relationships, including Alanis Morissette, Scarlett Johansson and Blake Lively. Lively is currently expecting the couple’s first child and runs a lifestyle website, Preserve.
[Ryan Reynolds and Michael J. Fox Images: Google/Michael J. Fox Foundation]