“Still” and Michael J Fox

I share his attitude, you have to laugh at yourself because if you didn’t, you wouldn’t make it!

Lisa H

What does is mean to be still if you have Parkinson’s Disease? For many of us, we don’t remember a time when our bodies were still. When we had no tremors – visible or invisible. When our head, arms or even entire bodies did not sway uncontrollably, sometimes making us feel seasick even though our feet were planted firmly on the ground. When did we ever have enough control over our bodies to just sit “still”?

In the new movie “Still”, Michael J Fox reaches deep to share his life before and with Parkinson’s. The beloved actor takes us on a journey with him from that first tremor in his little finger at age 29, to the man he is today, more than 30 years later, with his body ravaged by Parkinson’s. For many of us with PD, it takes us back with him to the day we were diagnosed. We know how he is feeling, what he is experiencing. It is a visceral experience, both sad and hopeful. Sad because we see what this disease can do to us as it progresses. But hopeful because Michael J Fox made his mission in life to eliminate Parkinson’s disease in our lifetime. He established the Michael J Fox Foundation in 2000 with just one goal: to accelerate the next generation of Parkinson’s disease (PD) treatments and ultimately find a cure. So far, over $1 Billion has been invested into research and last month, the MJFF announced a major breakthrough for a Parkinson’s biomarker.

If you have not seen the documentary on Apple+ featuring Michael J Fox, I highly recommend that you watch it. And share it with your family and friends. I laughed and I cried with Michael J Fox. I felt his pain when he fell. I felt the broken bones that resulted from those falls. And I laughed at his attempts to hide his tremor because, after all, I did the same things.

He’s my hero!

Susan S

The first half of the 90 minute film deals mostly with his life before Parkinson’s. We see him as a 2 year old in Vancouver, Canada, running, running, running. As Fox said, he never sat still. He grows up, always the smallest boy in every group. He was a terrible student, but finding the Drama Club in school changed everything for him. First of all, that was where the girls were. His drama teacher saw that Fox had potential and encouraged him to audition for a local show that called for a much younger boy. Because of his small size, Fox looked much younger than he was and was cast in the role. He dropped out of high school when his agent encouraged him to go to Los Angeles to find work as an actor.

Fox shares his life as a starving actor, trying to find work in Hollywood and living in an awful appartment in what he described as “the slums of Beverly Hills”. After a couple of years when he is literally down to his last dollar, he auditions for the role of Alex Keaton in “Family Ties”. In an instant, he became a star.

Then the film turns darker. Fox woke up one morning to find his baby finger twitching. Thinking it was just from a severe hangover, he ignored it. But it kept coming back and eventually Fox went to a neurologist to find out what was causing the twitchy finger. Diagnosis: Parkinson’s Disease. Fox’s response: “I was in my late 20’s. How could I possibly have this old person’s disease.”

For the next 7 years, Fox continued to work, finding ways to hide his tremor and his medications from others. We have all been there. We tried to be “still” when with others. We found ways to make the tremor look like we are just playing with something that we are holding in our shaking hand. As his Parkinson’s progresses, we feel his pain and frustration.

I think we who have Parkinson’s should recommend that our family and friends watch it so they can have a better understanding of what we are going through. If anyone ever needed compassion MJF certainly does! 

Lucy W

All through this, his wife Tracy Pollon has been there at his side. The ultimate care partner, she has given him the support that he needs. Tracy and their 4 children have given him a reason to continue on his mission to find a cure for Parkinson’s.

From all of us in the Parkinson’s community, we cannot thank you enough, Michael J Fox, for all that you have done and will continue to do for us. You have changed our lives and most of all, you have given us hope.


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A Note To My Readers

I love to see your comments and get your emails as we share our collective experiences. But based on a couple of private questions from some of you, remember, I am just a lay person and a patient like the rest of you. For medical and similar advice, you need to talk to your own doctor

Twitchy Woman

Twitchy Women partners with the Parkinson’s Wellness Fund to ensure we have the resources to offer peer support for women with Parkinson’s.