Actor Michael J. Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease when he was 29 years old. The incurable brain disorder has caused him tremors, stiffness and sometimes trouble walking and talking.
A new documentary called “Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie” is coming out on Apple TV+ next month detailing his struggles and triumphs over the past decades.
The “Back to the Future” and “Family Ties” star recently spoke with CBS Sunday Morning’s Jane Pauley about the film and how he’s approaching the future.
“[Parkinson’s] banging on the door … I’m not going to lie, it’s getting hard. It’s getting harder. It’s getting tougher,” he told Pauley. “Every day it’s tougher … that’s the way it is.”
Fox explained that after a surgery to remove a benign tumor on his spine, he’s had more trouble walking and broken multiple bones. He said Parkinson’s is something you die with, not something you die from.
“I’ve been thinking about the mortality of it .… I’m not going to be 80. I’m not going to be 80.”
The 61-year-old actor created The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research in 2000. The organization says it has raised $1.75 billion to date.
Approximately 500,000 Americans have Parkinson’s, estimates the National Institutes for Health.
The disease is characterized by nerve cells degenerating in the part of the brain that controls movement. As that happens, it causes tremors, muscle stiffness, slower movement, and poor balance.
There is no cure, but the NIH writes there are medicines, surgeries and other treatments that can help.
Parkinson’s is the second-most common neurodegenerative in the U.S. after Alzheimer’s.