Michael J. Fox gives encouraging update on his health: 'I realized I could find gratitude'
Michael J. Fox was a rapidly ascending star in the 1980s on television as Alex P. Keaton on Family Ties and on the big screen as Marty McFly in the Back to the Future franchise.
Then he was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson's privately in 1991 at just 29 years old, and once he publicly revealed his condition in 1998, his legacy shifted from movie star to fierce advocate.
Now 60, Fox spoke on his health for this week's issue of People, including spinal cord surgery he had in April 2018 and a subsequent fall that broke his arm.
"I felt so sorry for myself in that moment, lying on the floor, a bag of bones," the five-time Emmy winner told the publication. "And I thought, 'Who am I to tell people to cheer up? Because this sucks.' ... I realized I could find gratitude. You can be a realist and an optimist at the same time. If I don't accept it, I can't move forward."
Fox added: "I'm in a really good groove. Every day is different. The circle [of what I can do] gets smaller. But I'm happy I've found things in the middle of the circle that can't be touched, like my family and the time I have with them."
The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, which has raised over $1 billion since launching in 2000, will have its 20th anniversary fundraising gala Oct. 23—pushed from last year due to the coronavirus pandemic—and feature performances by Brad Paisley and Sting as well as others.
Fox told Variety that he "won't stop until" a cure for Parkinson's is found and shared what the foundation has been able to help with in the meantime: "[There] are therapies that have made life a lot better for a lot of people. I enjoy life more. I’m more comfortable in my skin than I was 20 years ago. I can sit down and be calm. I couldn’t do that 25 years ago. That’s the medications, the drug cocktails and therapies that we’ve been a part of."
Fox has been married to Tracy Pollan since July 1988 and share son Sam, 32, twin daughters Aquinnah and Schuyler, 26, and daughter Esmé, 19.