The 53-year-old entertainment icon was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at the age of 30. He is now promoting awareness of the disorder via his charity, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, and the actor is convinced discussing the condition in an open manner is beneficial. “Once I made my diagnosis known, it’s been a tremendous opportunity and a tremendous privilege,” Michael told The Today Show in a joint interview with Ryan Reynolds.
‘Once I made my diagnosis known, it’s been a tremendous opportunity and a tremendous privilege’
Michael commiserates with people who choose to stay quiet about their physical ailments.
But ultimately he’s committed to creating a new dialogue around disease.
“[Parkinsons is] a degenerative progressive disease so you can’t say ‘you can expect this from being associated with me in life henceforth’ and also there’s this shame in illness,” Michael explained about why he waited seven years before going public with his diagnosis in 1998.
Green Lantern star Ryan has been personally impacted by Parkinson’s, as his father has suffered from the disorder for 20 years.
But Ryan’s dad remains reticent about his experience with the disorder.
“[My father] comes from a pretty prideful generation. And he doesn’t really talk about it too much,” he said. “But, he’s maybe said it once or twice out loud. I think one of the interesting things about having a family member who’s diagnosed with this particular disease, who isn’t really engaging in an active fight against it, it kind of galvanised everybody else to seek resources. And for us, in a strange way, it’s really kind of brought us together.”
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