Michael J Fox says Parkinson’s is the gift that keeps on taking

Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd reunite

Source: Twitter

Actor Michael J Fox knows he will run out of gas one day, but even if that were to happen tomorrow, he doesn’t fear death.

The Back To The Future star, who found fame after dropping out of high school at 17, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease when he was just 29 years old.

Fox spoke out in an interview for the November issue of Town and Country magazine about the disease, his experience living with it and its inevitable toll for its philanthropy issue

“One day I’ll run out of gas,” he said.

“One day I’ll just say, ‘It’s not going to happen. I’m not going out today’. If that comes, I’ll allow myself that.

“I’m 62 years old. Certainly, if I were to pass away tomorrow, it would be premature, but it wouldn’t be unheard of. And so, no, I don’t fear that.”

In the interview, Canadian-born Fox describes Parkinson’s as the “gift that keeps on taking”, but he also says it has changed his life in many positive ways.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation’s unique strategy 

Fox hid his diagnosis for years and continued to work in Hollywood. But since he went public with his diagnosis, he has advocated for those living with Parkinson’s.

He told Town and Country that after he revealed his illness, several Parkinson’s foundations approached him, hoping to leverage his star-power.

When he turned one down, it would urge him not to work with other foundations. That angered Fox and inspired him to make a change.

Just over 20 years ago, he co-founded the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. It has since produced more than $US2 billion ($3.1 billion) in funding.

It seemed straightforward to me,” he said.

“I’m a short kid from Canada who at 17 moved to another country and somehow within five years was a millionaire. I’m of the mind that anything you want to do you can do.”

He then teamed up with Deborah Brooks and made her the CEO of the foundation.

The pair adopted a unique strategy to ensure their money was in the hands of the right people – with the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research aiming to go broke every year. Brooks claims it has given more money to research the disease than the US government.

While Fox is best known for playing Marty McFly in the Back To The Future trilogy and Alex P Keaton on Family Ties, he has continued to work in Hollywood over the years.

Earlier this year, Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie was released. It documented the actor’s life with Parkinson’s disease.

He also has four children with his wife, Tracy Pollman. The couple had been married just three years when he was diagnosed.

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