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Michael J. Fox

Michael J. Fox

Michael J. Fox has notably embraced the power of positive during his three decades of Parkinson’s disease treatment. It’s a habit he acquired from his mother, Phyllis, who passed in September at age 92.

“My mum had a long and fulfilling life. “There was no more revered woman,” Fox, 61, said. “She was a lovely lady. You were confident that you would be treated fairly. And she loved to laugh—she laughed all the time.”

Phyllis felt anxious when he informed her of his Parkinson’s disease diagnosis at the age of 29 in 1991.

“I was still working TV and movies and establishing a family when I launched the foundation,” adds Fox, who married actress Tracy Pollan in 1988. Their son Sam, now 33, was born in 1989, and the couple added twin daughters Aquinnah and Schuyler — now 27 — in 1995, followed by their youngest, Esmé, 21.

“When she questioned how I did it all, I told her, ‘I just go forward.’” I’m not interested in taking stock or lamenting that something isn’t going to happen. My mum was the same way. She’d never calculate the losses. She’d consider the benefits.”

Fox connects his resilience lessons back to his youth with his mother and father, William, who died in 1990. As military children, Fox and his four siblings looked out for one another (William served in the Canadian troops for 25 years), and Phyllis was the family’s glue.

“Army wives are adaption masters,” he says. “They just know how to handle a new scenario, get the house together, get the schools set up, get a job on the side — since military money is nothing. We didn’t get it as youngsters. Now I understand.”

The actor, who has collected more than $1.5 billion for Parkinson’s research through the Michael J. Fox Foundation, admits that a fractured hand, shoulder, right arm, and elbow have tested his optimism during the previous year.

But he is optimistic today, “rocking and rolling” as his recovery comes full circle. “I’m just coming through where the last of my injuries are mending up; my arm feels terrific,” he said. “Life is fascinating.” “This is what you get.”

In difficult circumstances, Fox recalls a maxim he developed while recovering from a risky spinal cord surgery to remove a tumor on his spine in 2018.

“If I can find thankfulness in anything I do and whatever scenario I’m in if I can find one little thing to be grateful for, it turns the whole situation around and allows for the possibility of grace, of something great happening,” the actor says. “I’m just getting back into that groove, so it’s very good.”

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