26 years ago Michael J. Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. From that moment he has become the face of advocacy for those facing the life-altering illness. As his disease continued to progress, Fox decided to step out of the Hollywood limelight leading many to wonder how the former A-lister is really doing.
Earlier this year, Fox decided to sit down with AARP to give the world an update on his condition, but it's not what anyone could have expected.
"The truth is that on most days, there comes a point where I literally can't stop laughing at my own symptoms," he said.
Fox went on to explain that he knows how his struggles with everyday tasks must look to others, and how he knows that some people take pity on him. He finds it hilarious, because on a personal level, he feels like a million bucks.
Fox was an 80s Hollywood icon. His roles as Marty McFly in Back To The Future, and Scott Howard in Teen Wolf put him on the map in a big way, leading the way for roles in more adult films, like when he played Frank Bannister in The Frighteners (which honestly scared me quite a bit as an impressionable 12-year-old).
His career was on the major up-swing in the late 90s with his prime time hit show Spin City, which even earned him an Emmy. But in 1998, it was his Parkinson's diagnoses announcement that dominated the headlines surrounding his career.
Those suffering from Parkinson's around the world hailed his public disclosure as heroic and groundbreaking. The announcement helped inform the public about the realities of the disease, and also started to change the stigma surrounding those who suffer from it.
Fox himself admitted that the hardest part about going public was the public perception of the disease, knowing people were feeling sorry for him was hard for him. He didn't want their pity, just their understanding.
While he rarely acts any more Fox has done a number of things to help stop Parkinson's. He's launched his own foundation to raise awareness and funds, and recently helped debut shoes with self-tying laces for people suffering from the condition.