Back in 1991, Michael J. Fox was only 29-years-old and had achieved a great deal of fame as a child actor and adult celebrity. His life seemed to be progressing amazingly well. Unfortunately, that same year, the beloved actor received the disturbing news that he had Parkinson’s disease.
Fox decided to remain quiet about his diagnosis at first, but after seven years of suffering in silence, he went public in 1998. Fox realized that by admitting his condition, he could start an active campaign to find a cure, while providing hope for others that struggled with the same illness.
Fox continued his life as an actor for two more years. By 2000, he stopped focusing on his acting and instead decided to spend his time fighting Parkinson’s. Fox founded the Michael J. Fox Foundation in 2000 to try to find a cure for the disease. Fox’s foundation has done a significant amount of work to improve treatments for those that suffer from Parkinson’s and has also helped science get closer to finding a cure.
Currently, there is still no cure for Parkinson’s, but there is help for those with the disease via medications, treatments, and surgery. People with Parkinson’s experience balance issues, stiffness, and tremors. Also, the disease is not considered fatal, but it can reduce a person’s life expectancy.
Michael J. Fox opens up about new health scares amid Parkinson's battle: In 1991, a then 29-year-old Michael J. Fox received the devastating news that he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. The "Back to the Future" star went on to share his diagnosis… https://t.co/Jvks5vBWuu pic.twitter.com/UW0rhpuPzI— USA News (@1USNews) March 1, 2019
Recently, Fox sat down and provided the media with his take on both struggling with Parkinson’s disease and the health issues that he just experienced. According to E! News, Fox discussed a recent spinal surgery procedure he underwent last April.
“I was having this recurring problem with my spinal chord,” Fox said, according to Fox News. “I was told it was benign but if it stayed static I would have diminished feeling in my legs and difficulty moving. Then all of a sudden I started falling — a lot. It was getting ridiculous. I was trying to parse what was the Parkinson’s and what was the spinal thing. But it came to the point where it was probably necessary to have surgery. So I had surgery, and an intense amount of physical therapy after. I did it all, and eventually people asked me to do some acting.”
After the surgery, Fox remained in a wheelchair for six months. He put himself through an extreme regimen of physical therapy to ensure he could function as normally as possible.
Fox also remains optimistic that a cure for Parkinson’s will eventually be discovered. Since he first became ill with the disease back in 1991, technology and medicine have made several advancements and improved the treatments for Parkinson’s significantly, which Fox feels is impressive.