Michael J. Fox’s Return Sheds Light on Parkinson’s Disease

Emmy-winning actor Michael J. Fox is set to make a return to television on Thursday September 26, 2013 with The Michael J. Fox Show, a half-hour comedy that focuses on a New York newscaster’s comeback to the broadcast chair following his struggle with Parkinson’s Disease.

It’s a case of art imitating life as Fox shares much in common with Mike Henry, the character he portrays on the new NBC comedy.

Once a staple of network television programming, actor Michael J. Fox announced to the world in 1998 that he had been diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s Disease – a fact he kept hidden for nearly seven years. In 2000, he retreated from the public eye to spend time with his family, seek care for his ailment, and work as an advocate for others with Parkinson’s.

That same year, Fox began his own foundation, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF). The non-profit organization is committed to finding a cure for Parkinson’s and has provided over $350 million in research funding and helped support 60 clinical trials.

Fox’s return to television is more than just a career comeback; it’s an inspiration to others with Parkinson’s Disease and to families whose loved ones fight the battle alongside them every day. Like his character Mike Henry, Fox believed that once he was diagnosed, it was the end for his career and that he needed to focus on “being a patient.” His new show highlights how wrong he initially was and that Parkinson’s is just an obstacle patients have to overcome in order to get on with living life.

“It’s part of a human experience,” said Fox. “You can’t cower from it and hide from it. You just have to accept it into your life. And if you have a loving, full life… It’ll just be one of the colors in the palette.”

In a recent interview, Fox compared the Henrys, the fictional family of his new show, to his own: “They deal with most things with humor. It’s always ‘What’s funny about this?’. That’s shocking to some people. Sometimes they’ll say, ‘How can you make fun of Parkinson’s?’. We’re not making fun of Parkinson’s. We’re examining a life and a life that has Parkinson’s and just how one guy deals with it. And my experience is to deal with things through humor. There’s always something funny about everything.”

While Michael J. Fox is leading the charge to shine a light on Parkinson’s from television screens around the globe, Griswold is doing our part to help educate families and individuals about the disease via the web. Those who are interested in learning more about Parkinson’s and how to care for loved ones with the ailment can view Griswold’s free, 60-minute webinar and workshop, Uncovering the Hidden Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease.

Griswold also offers continuing education programs for social workers, nurses, and healthcare administrators. Professionals interested in taking a course on Parkinson’s are welcome to contact their local Griswold Home Care office for a redemption code. 

Image Credit: NBC

Has watching this show helped make your experiences with Parkinson’s easier? Tell us in the comments!

  • http://myfamilyfirsthc.com/why-choose-us/ Daryl @ caregiver Sarasota FL

    I’m really happy for Michael getting back into TV and using his challenge with Parkinson’s to encourage others to face it head on. I used to watch him on Family Ties and am a big fan.