The Michael J. Fox Show: Parkinson's, family, laughter, and courage

Art will imitate the real life of beloved actor and comedian Michael J. Fox when his anticipated one-hour season premiere airs tonight. Photo: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

SAN DIEGO, September 26, 2013 — Art will imitate the real life of beloved actor and comedian, Michael J. Fox, when his much anticipated one-hour season premiere airs tonight.

Airing at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT on NBC, this one-hour episode sets the stage for Fox’s upcoming weekly, 30-minute sitcom.

What is unique about “The Michael J. Fox Show” is also what is extraordinary about the actor himself.

Diagnosed with young onset Parkinson’s disease at the age of 30, Fox, now 51, is excited to enter a new artistic phase of his career as an actor.

“I didn’t want to play myself, but an alter ego close enough that we could use my experiences with raising a family and having Parkinson’s,” states Fox in a story by Don Flood, published in the September 2013 issue of TV Guide.

Woven throughout Fox’s sitcom is humor, especially what Fox call “Parkinson’s jokes.”

Fox continues “They’re snippets of my experiences … it’s just a reality of my life. But if I can laugh with it, it makes all the difference.”

Fox portrays as an alter ego the character of a New York City news anchor named Mike Henry. Henry is well known in his community as a recognizable television personality. He is involved in his career and also tackles the challenges of being a family man with a large family. At the same time, he is managing the impacts of Parkinson’s disease.

NBC is said to be excited about the premiere of “The Michael J. Fox Show” tonight, and especially about working with an actor and comedian of Fox’s caliber and brilliance.

According to Robert Greenblatt, Chairman of NBC Entertainment, in a story by David Usborne published in an August 2012 issue of The Independent, “We are thrilled that one of the great comedic television stars is coming home again.”

Fox has starred in many popular television series such as “Family Ties” and “Spin City,” and made numerous guest appearances in a variety of other shows. Fox also starred in many motion pictures and is famous for his portrayal of the Marty McFly character in all three of the blockbuster “Back to the Future” movies.

Fox had this to say about working with NBC, further reflecting on his amazing ability to view life through humor: “NBC’s going to milk it by showing me in slow motion with lame uplifting music in the background,” in a story by Sarah Hughes, published in a September 2013 issue of The Independent.

Fox’s resilience may serve as an inspiration to others who are stricken by young onset Parkinson’s disease (YOPD), and possibly many who are challenged by a variety of other disabilities. His determination to live a full life, integrate his dynamic career with his family life, and make a difference in the research and future treatments of Parkinson’s, is heroic.

AP Photo

“In general, young people tend to have a smoother course of the illness,” according to the American Parkinson’s Disease Association.

However, they continue to explain, “When someone who is 21-40 years old it is referred as young onset Parkinson’s disease … Although the symptoms are the same whatever age it develops, managing the disease can be particularly challenging to a younger person and the person’s family, medically, psychologically, and socially.”

For additional information regarding the National Young Onset Center of the American Parkinson’s Disease Association, visit www.youngparkinsons.org.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation has raised over $350 million in funded Parkinson’s research, and provides up-to-the-minute information, education, and other resources for those individuals and families impacted by this disease. Contact them at www.MichaelJFox.org.

As the season premiere of “The Michael J. Fox Show” approaches with much anticipation and the promise to entertain and provide laughter to the entire family, it is well to remember the heroism behind the actor. Fox is a shining example of resilience, determination, and perseverance in attempting to overcome the seemingly impossible task of having Parkinson’s while insisting on living a full life.

“A lot of times when you have a disability, the one thing you deal with is rejection of your experience, or fear that other people have about it,” states Fox in an article by Sarah Hughes in a September 2013 issue of The Independent. “But there’s nothing horrifying about it. There is no Gothic nastiness.”

Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!

Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, is a health care provider of over 30 years. As a featured “Communities” columnist since 2011, LifeCycles with Laurie Edwards-Tate emphasizes healthy aging and maintaining independence, while delighting and informing its readers. Laurie is a recognized expert in home and community-based, long-term care services, and is also an educator.

In addition to writing for “Communities,” Laurie is the President and CEO of her firm, At Your Home Familycare, which serves persons of all ages who are disabled and infirm with a variety of non-medical, in-home care and concierge services.

Copyright © 2013 by At Your Home Familycare


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Laurie Edwards-Tate

Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, President and Founder of At Your Home Familycare in San Diego, California, was among the first to recognize the growing need for services allowing individuals to remain independent created by the aging of America including the Baby Boomer generation, now being called the “Silver Tsunami.” It is the Baby Boomers who are rapidly redefining what aging and growing older means and looks like in America today.

Now celebrating its 28th year in business, AYHF is among San Diego County’s Top  Women-Owned Businesses and Fastest Growing Businesses, and enjoys a reputation for upholding the highest possible standards among its employees and its emphasis on customer service.  Edwards-Tate is a valued contributor to the public dialogue on current issues and challenges in the home care industry, and serves in leadership roles on the Home Care Aide Association of America Advisory Board and Private Duty Home Care Association Advisory Board, as well as the Home Care Aide Steering Committee of the California Association for Health Services at Home.

Edwards-Tate is frequently interviewed in the media on healthy aging, caregiving, and health care topics. 

 Follow Laurie and AYHF  at www.atyourhomefamilycare.com; on Facebook at www.facebook.com/atyourhomefamilycare, and Twitter at @AYHFamilycare

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