Michael J. Fox Explains Why He Called Parkinson’s Diagnosis a ‘Gift’

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    Michael J. Fox Explains Why He Called Parkinson’s Diagnosis a ‘Gift’


    Michel J. Fox has had a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease and a complicated relationship with his health — however, the actor is looking at his struggle and the challenges he’s faced with a unique perspective.

    Fox, 62, sat down with ET’s Cassie DiLaura on Saturday at this year’s A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Cure Parkinson’s Gala — his annual fundraising benefit for The Michael J. Fox Foundation — held at Casa Cipriani in New York City.

    The actor addressed recent remarks he’d made in which he said it felt as though being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease had actually been something of a gift.

    “It clears the deck of all the BS,” Fox explained. “It really gets all of that stuff out of your life, and you start seeing things that are important, like your family and your health and your career and your obligation and your opportunity to serve.”

    “It’s a tremendous gift in that sense,” Fox said. “[But] it’s [also] a gift that keeps on taking… no matter how chipper I am about it.”

    Ultimately, Fox said that he looks at the things that matter most to him, and he cannot help but feel fortunate, regardless of the setbacks he’s faced and faces in the future.

    “I’ve been so lucky… My family is extraordinary, my life is extraordinary, my kids are extraordinary,” Fox shared. “My kids are amazing.”

    Fox and his wife, Tracy Pollan, met on the set of Family Ties and tied the knot in 1988. Together, the couple shares four children — Sam, 34, twins Aquinnah and Schuyler, 28, and Esmé, 21. In July, the happy couple celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary.

    Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

    “[The kids] didn’t even take it in a lot, through their childhood,” Fox said of his decades-long struggle with Parkinson’s. “I mean, it was just who I was and how I behaved and how I moved and how I responded to things.”

    Now that they are adults, his kids have all taken on causes they believe in, which has brought him a great deal of joy.

    “The thing I’m most proud of is they’re all very philanthropic,” Fox said. “So it’s been great to see that develop in them. And, if in some way it is due to my experience, then I couldn’t be prouder.”

    He’s also very appreciative of the work his foundation has been able to accomplish in the years since it was created — all due to the hard work and collective efforts of a great number of people working toward a common goal of making the future brighter for those battling Parkinson’s.

    “I’m proud of the foundation, and proud of the people that work for us and with us and the families that support us and benefit from our work,” he shared. “[Years ago], I whispered in the woods and owls came flying, full of wisdom. It was just amazing the response that I got.”

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