Michael J Fox: Parkinsons Champion For A Cure
Michael J. Fox is among the most well-known people living with Parkinsons disease. Many remember him as the fresh-faced young star of the 1980s TV comedy hit Family Ties and the popular Back to the Future movies. Though most people with Parkinsons are diagnosed between ages 40 and 60, Fox was diagnosed at age 30 but his diagnosis didnt slow him down.
He shared his young-onset Parkinsons disease diagnosis with the world in 1998 and, two years later, founded the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinsons Research. Fox is committed to helping the foundation build Parkinsons disease awareness and raise funds for research into prevention, treatment, and a cure. In addition to his advocacy work, hes still a working actor some more recent roles have included characters with Parkinsons in the TV shows The Good Wife and Curb Your Enthusiasm.
As long as I play a guy with Parkinsons, I can do anything, he joked in a 2013 AARP interview.
Maurice White: A Performer With Parkinsons
One of the founding members of the band Earth, Wind & Fire, Maurice White noted the first symptoms of Parkinsons disease in the 1980s while the bands popularity was going strong. Although he was diagnosed in 1992 at age 50, he kept quiet about his disease for eight years. In a 2000 interview with Rolling Stone, he discussed his diagnosis, saying, I traveled with the band for five years with Parkinsons. I was treating it with medication then, and I still have it under control. Its not taking anything away from me.
White died in 2016 at age 74.
Famous People With Parkinson’s Disease
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Rondstadts Return To Public Life Was Rocky
By 2018, the artist was making semi-regular public appearances again with A Conversation with Linda, in which she discussed her career and her health between clips of concert footage despite, as she told the San Francisco Chronicle, the difficulties of talking. She also revealed that she was among the one in five Parkinsons victims who did not respond to increased dopamine, and as such had stopped taking her regular medication.
The return to public life was not without its pitfalls: Appearing on stage at the MusiCares Person of the Year gala in February 2019 to honor her friend and onetime bandmate Dolly Parton, Ronstadt was knocked off balance by an exuberant Parton hug and grabbed for the podium, knocking the award to the floor and into pieces.
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Notable Figures With Parkinsons
Although more than 10 million people worldwide live with Parkinson’s disease , the general public’s understanding of disease symptoms is often limited to what is seen in the media. Many people only know Parkinson’s as the disease that Muhammad Ali had, or Michael J. Fox has.
However, when a household name such as Ali or Fox announces their diagnosis, Parkinson’s coverage briefly spikes. While a diagnosis is upsetting, when notable figures are public about their disease, the coverage helps increase awareness and understanding, while personalizing Parkinson’s for those with no other connection.
A PD diagnosis is universally difficult to cope with, but with a platform to speak from and fans to speak to, here’s a list of notable figures that have helped shape the Parkinson’s conversation:
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Famous People Whose Lives Are Touched By Parkinsons Disease
Parkinsons disease is a heartbreaking condition that can affect anyone, even if they are rich and famous, extremely active, and intelligent. But though this disease does not discriminate between race, gender, and sometimes age, celebrities and patient advocates do what they can to raise awareness for Parkinsons disease, and support each other when they need to.
These 15 celebrities have either been diagnosed with this awful disease, or have had family members who are affected by it.
Michael J Fox Parkinsons Disease
The beloved actor known for his roles in television and movies was diagnosed with early on-set Parkinsons disease in his early 30s. After years of denial in dealing with the diagnosis, he finally became a voice for those affected by Parkinsons and started the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinsons Research which has raised millions to help fund research into Parkinsons.
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Celebrities Whove Been Diagnosed With Parkinsons Disease
After getting a life-changing Parkinsons disease diagnosis, it can be comforting to find out who else has the same diagnosis. While its important to have a friend, family member or acquaintance to talk to in person who knows exactly what youre going through. Knowing one of your favorite public figures is experiencing similar symptoms as you can also help you feel less alone. These famous folks have spoken out about their condition, bringing awareness and visibility to conditions the general population might not know much about, if anything at all.
Parkinsons disease is a chronic, progressive neurological condition caused by the degeneration of nerve cells in the part of the brain that controls movement. As a result, the nerve cells cannot produce dopamine, a chemical that helps coordinate movement. Hallmark symptoms include shaking in limbs when the limbs are at rest slowness of movement, where you cannot move your body as fast as you would like and rigidity, or stiffness in the body. Parkinsons also causes a number of symptoms unrelated to movement, including digestive issues, loss of smell, chronic pain, depression and blood pressure issues.
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Famous Celebs Living With Parkinsons Disease
Certainly, Parkinsons disease impacts people whatever status they have, even the famous ones. Below are popular personalities suffering from the disease and how they dealt with it.
1. Muhammad Ali
Ali was the Peoples Champion of his time. Three years after retiring from boxing, he was diagnosed with Parkinsons disease. As someone with the disease, he worked on fund-raising projects for Parkinsons research until the 2000s. He even bore the Olympic Flag way back in 2012.
In addition, the former boxing champ was Parkinsons Foundations longtime friend. As such, he elevated awareness of the disease all over the world and helped put up the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center. His fight against the illness lasted until 2016, but his legacy stays on.
2. Michael J. Fox
Also a philanthropist, actor Michael J. Fox is among the most famous Parkinsons advocates around the globe. He turned out as a household name, like Marty McFly in the renowned film Back to the Future. More so, the actor started to notice symptoms of early-onset PD at age 29 and from then on and has been committed since he started the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinsons Research. The severe illness hasnt hindered Fox from writing three books and continuing to appear on various TV shows.
3. Pope John Paul II
4. Freddie Roach
5. George H.W. Bush
6. Linda Ronstadt
7. Robin Williams
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Jesse Jacksonstruggle With Parkinsons Disease
A part of Martin LutherKing Juniors inner circle and founder of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, the worldwas truly saddened when it heard the news of Jesse Jacksons diagnosis withParkinsons disease.
At the age of 76, therenowned politician and social activist informed the public of the news andshared his struggles.
Initially, when he firstdiscovered the tremor symptoms, he tried to work through them. However, at onepoint it could no longer be ignored. After numerous tests run by the doctor,Jackson was diagnosed with Parkinsons disease.
According to a quote fromJesse Jackson himself, he sees the diagnosis of Parkinsons as
a signal that I must make lifestyle changes and dedicate myself to physical therapy in hopes of slowing the diseases progression.
In a statement in 2015,he did admit to attempting to make the change. Jackson now devotes his time tomeditation, physical exercise, and prayer every day to help him cope.
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Jesse Jackson was born inGreenville, South Carolina and is a two-time presidential candidate for theDemocrats.
As well as being very close to the causes of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., he has also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Bill Clinton and successfully negotiated the release of three American soldiers held prisoners in Yugoslavia.
Michael J Fox Reflects 30 Years After Parkinson’s Diagnosis: I Still Am Mr Optimist
In 1991, there were few bigger names in show business than Michael J. Fox. Millions around the world knew him for his work in the “Back to the Future” films, and the TV series “Family Ties.” But away from the success and celebrity of Hollywood, he was about the begin the biggest fight of his life.
Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease when he was 29 years old. He was newly married to his wife, actress Tracy Pollan, who he met on the set of “Family Ties,” in the 1980s.
“So very early in the marriage she got this dumped on her. And the moment that I told her I was realizing was the last time we cried about it together. We haven’t cried about Parkinson’s since. We’ve just dealt with it and lived our lives. But we cried about it that first time,” Fox recalled to “CBS Mornings” co-host Nate Burleson.
Fox said the couple didn’t know what Parkinson’s meant and were about to enter uncharted territory.
“We didn’t know what to expect. We didn’t know what would happen. We didn’t know. You know, no one could say when it would have more effects. More symptoms than what I had, which was a twitch, twitching pinkie,” said Fox. “But they just said it was coming.”
More than two decades later and after several acting jobs that allowed him to work without hiding his condition, the 60-year-old is now retired from acting.
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Through His Eponymous Foundation The Famed Actor
As Marty McFly, he took us Back to the Future. Now, through his work leading The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinsons Research , actor and activist Michael J. Fox is helping to usher in a new future for people with one filled with hope. I know without fail that we are getting closerday by day, year by yearto the breakthroughs that will make finding a cure inevitable, Fox tells Neurology Now. A lot of work lies ahead of us. But this is a responsibility we have, and we want people to know someone is trying to get this work done.
Parkinsons disease is a central nervous system disorder in which the brain has difficulty controlling the movements of the body. In people with PD, the brain cells that make dopamine dont function normally, which causes trouble with body movement. Some of the classic symptoms of the disease are rigidity, stiffness, stooped or forward-leaning posture, and shuffling gait, says J. William Langston, M.D., the founder, chief executive officer , and scientific director of The Parkinsons Institute in Sunnyvale, CA. Like over one million Americans, Michael J. Fox has PD.
Called the most credible voice on Parkinsons disease research in the world by The New York Times, MJFF is the worlds largest private funder of PD research, having contributed more than $270 million toward their goal of finding a cure. Along the way, the organization has helped improve the way research is funded and conducted.
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Slowing Down the Disease
Brian Grant: Staying Positive With Parkinson’s
Brian Grant spent 12 seasons as a National Basketball Association player, playing for the Sacramento Kings, the Portland Trail Blazers, the Miami Heat, the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Phoenix Suns. As an NBA player, he was known for his positive team commitment as well as his work with disadvantaged children. According to an interview with ESPN, he was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s disease in January 2009, following his retirement from professional basketball. He went on to found the Brian Grant Foundation, which is dedicated to raising awareness and inspiring those living with Parkinson’s disease to include exercise as medicine.
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Michael Richard Clifford: Parkinson’s In Space
Michael Richard “Rich” Clifford began his career as a NASA astronaut in 1990. He’s since made three space flights, accumulating 665 hours orbiting Earth. Though diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1994, he continued to fly. Clifford was 42 and in apparent good health when he discovered his Parkinson’s disease, signaled at first by difficulty moving his right arm and hand correctly. In 2012, the American Academy of Neurology gave him the Public Leadership in Neurology Award for increasing awareness of Parkinson’s disease and for encouraging people living with Parkinson’s to continue to pursue their dreams.
Everyone with PD handles it differently, said Clifford in an interview with the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Dont let it get in the way of living. Life is too good. Remember, keep going the skys the limit.
Myth : Aside From Medication There Isnt Much You Can Do
Fact: This it is what it is theres nothing I can do to help myself myth is counterproductive. There is a lot you can do chiefly, keeping as active as you can. A recent study found that patients with Parkinsons who took part in weekly, hourlong exercise sessions were able to do more in their daily lives than those who did not.
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Alan And David Osmond
Alan Osmond and many of his siblings became famous as members of the singing, dancing Osmond family. His son, David, is now carrying on the family name as a performer, including a turn on TVs American Idol. They share something else, too: Both father and son have multiple sclerosis. They live by Alans motto: I may have MS, but MS does not have me.
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Brad Pitt Suffers From Prosopagnosia
Brad Pitt suffers from a neurological disorder called prosopagnosia, as he admittedin 2013 during an interview with Esquire magazine. This condition, also known as face blindness or facial agnosia, is a neurological disorder characterized by the inability to recognize faces, in some cases even ones own.
This disorder apparently causes the actor social discomfort. So many people hate me because they think Im disrespecting them. I took one year where I just said, this year Im just going to cop to it and say to people, Where did we meet? But it just got worse. People were more offended. You get this thing, like,Youre being egotistical. Youre being conceited. But its a mystery to me, I cant grasp a face.
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Brian Grant: Staying Positive With Parkinsons
Brian Grant spent 12 seasons as a National Basketball Association player, playing for the Sacramento Kings, the Portland Trail Blazers, the Miami Heat, the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Phoenix Suns. As an NBA player, he was known for his positive team commitment as well as his work with disadvantaged children. According to an interview with ESPN, he was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinsons disease in January 2009, following his retirement from professional basketball. He went on to found the Brian Grant Foundation, which is dedicated to raising awareness and inspiring those living with Parkinsons disease to include exercise as medicine.
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Musicians Artists And Actors With Alzheimers Or Dementia
The world takes notice when entertainers have Alzheimers. Even though it must be difficult for celebrities and their families to release this news to the world, it does raise awareness of the disease.
Here are some musicians, artists, and actors that had dementia or Alzheimers, according to the Brevard Alzheimers Foundation.
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Celebrity Ambassadors And Supporters
Our celebrity ambassadors and supporters use their voice and time to make a difference to the lives of people with Parkinson’s.
We’re delighted to have such a passionate and dedicated network of celebrity and high profile supporters from the fields of sport, entertainment and the arts, including our President, , and our Patron, HRH the Duchess of Gloucester.
You can get in touch with our Celebrity team by emailing .
Important Facts About Parkinsons Disease
According to the not-for-profit organization, Mayo Clinic, Parkinsons disease is a progressive nervous system disorder affecting movements. Its symptoms are starting gradually, and sometimes, begins with a barely noticeable shaking of one hand. Tremors for this disease are typical. However, the disorder usually causes stiffness too or slowing down in terms of movement.
During the early phases of Parkinsons, a persons face may display little expression . His arms may not move or swing when he walks. Even the speech gets affected as it becomes slurred or soft. PD symptoms worsen as the condition progresses or develops over time.
In addition, even though it is incurable, there might be remarkable improvements with the symptoms due to medications. On some occasions, the doctor may recommend surgery to regulate some regions of the brain, not to mention, improve the symptoms.
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