Michael J. Fox is a household name, beloved for his work as an actor and for his tireless efforts advocating for research to find a cure for Parkinson’s disease. Fox himself was diagnosed with the disease in 1991, when he was just 29 years old.
In an interview with the New York Times published in August of 2019, Fox discussed his feelings about living with Parkinson’s. He spoke candidly about the physical and emotional toll that the disease has taken on him over the years, saying, “Parkinson’s sucks.”
However, he also made it clear that he resists feeling sorry for himself. In fact, he believes that the sympathy others might express towards him is actually a form of abuse. “People with Parkinson’s don’t need to be pitied,” Fox said. “Pity is a benign form of abuse.”
What Fox means is that when people express sympathy for someone with Parkinson’s, they may be doing so to make themselves feel better, rather than actually helping the person with the disease. Pity can often feel condescending or dismissive of the challenges that someone with Parkinson’s faces on a daily basis.
Instead of pity, Fox emphasizes the importance of empathy and understanding. He encourages people to see those with Parkinson’s as individuals who are capable of living full and meaningful lives, despite the challenges posed by the disease.
In addition to his work in advocacy for Parkinson’s research, Fox has continued to work as an actor and writer. He has been candid about the ways in which Parkinson’s has affected his ability to work in his field, but he remains determined to keep going as long as he is able.
Fox’s determination and refusal to succumb to pity or despair is an inspiration to many. He stands as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit, and as a reminder that those living with Parkinson’s are not defined by their diagnosis, but by their strength and courage in the face of adversity.
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