"The more complicated life gets, the more it can bring out the best in you." - Michael J. Fox
A few years ago, I had the privilege of hearing Michael J. Fox speak at a conference. His message was inspiring. At the end of his speech, approximately 12,000 people gave him a standing ovation. Many of you may know Michael from the television shows, "Family Ties" or "Spin City." For others, it could be from movies like, "Teen Wolf," "Back To The Future," or "Doc Hollywood." He was known as "The Prince of Hollywood" and when asked if he ever watched the HBO series "Entourage," his response was, "No, I didn't watch 'Entourage,' I lived it."
In 1991, life as he had known it, changed forever - Michael was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease.
Here are a few snippets from his speech...
At the age of 29, Michael was on the set, filming "Doc Hollywood," and one morning he woke up to a "dancing pinky finger." He tried everything to keep it from happening but it continued off and on for weeks. Upon returning to Manhattan he went through a battery of tests that confirmed a diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease. He was told he had about ten good years of acting left. One thing he wanted to make perfectly clear to all of us that day was this: "I'm still Michael J. Fox. Yes, I'm still me, just with Parkinson's."
He said, "Life is full of choices. The only choice I don't have is to have Parkinson's. Everything else in life, is my choice." He continued, "Parkinson's is a gift. It's a gift that keeps on taking, but it's a gift." He told us, "He was a reluctant Poster Boy, but started realizing he could make a difference."
In 1998, he went public with the news of his diagnosis. Barbara Walters and People Magazine both interviewed him, and in a matter of days, the news spread across the world. He formed a foundation to help find a cure for this mysterious disease. In addition to working with the Foundation he continues to work as an actor, but the roles are much different for him now.
He encouraged all of us to remain positive in difficult times. He said, "As a child I was known as a flake, but my Nana told me I would be famous one day." He continued,"Nana had confidence in her children and grandchildren." Even though she has passed from this world to the next, it was obvious that she remains an inspiration in his life today.
I was truly inspired by his story that day and I hope it has inspired you too.
Whatever you are going through right now, Remember to remain positive. Life is full of changes. Some will be out of your control. The way you handle them is totally up to you. Every experience you go through, whether good or bad, can be used to help some one else on their journey. Will you choose to make a positive difference for others today?
"Never underestimate the valuable and important difference you make in every life you touch - for the impact you make today has a powerful rippling effect on every tomorrow." - Leon Brown
"We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in our hands to make a difference." - Nelson Mandela