Michael J Fox is arguably the most famous Parkinson’s disease sufferer and advocate in the USA. But he originally didn’t want to reveal his diagnosis back in the 90s
From Vanity Fair:
“The actor spoke with Entertainment Tonight about the “great opportunity” his illness presented in terms of educating the public and raising money to find a cure, and how that disclosure almost didn’t happen. “It was seven or eight years after I had been diagnosed … [and] the paparazzi and stuff, they would stand outside my apartment and heckle at me, like, ‘What’s the matter with you?’” Fox recounted. “I said, ‘I can’t be making my neighbors deal with this,’ so I came out, and it was great. It was a great thing.” Fox was first diagnosed with the longterm degenerative nervous system disorder in 1991, but didn’t come forward publicly with his illness until 1998. He continued, “It was a great surprise to me that people responded the way they responded. They responded with interest, in the desire to find an answer to the disease, and then I saw that as a great opportunity. I didn’t get put in this position to squander it.”
Fox has since founded his eponymous charitable foundation dedicated to researching the disease, which has raised more than $1B in the decades since.
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