Michael J. Fox has received an honorary Academy Award for his work surrounding Parkinson’s disease.
The 61-year-old actor was diagnosed with the progressive disorder that affects the nervous system before his 30th birthday and has since raised more than $1 billion in research funding via the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the 13th Governors Awards on Saturday (19.11.22.)
In his acceptance speech, he said: “Once I became engaged in learning about the disease, every interaction, every new piece of information I gathered, every researcher or NIH official I talked to, all confirmed, the science was ahead of the money. The answers could be unlocked with the right investments. I was told I only had 10 years left to work. That was s*****. That’s what happened. The hardest part of my diagnosis was grappling with the certainty of the diagnosis and the uncertainty of the situation!”
The ‘Back to the Future’ star -who has been married to Tracy Pollan since 1989 and has children Sam, 33, Aquinnah, Schuyler, both 27, and 21-year-old Esme with her – later explained that he accepted the honour on the grounds that it served as “confirmation” that he is doing the best he can and described the award as a “force multiplier.”
He told ‘Access Hollywood’: “It’s nice to have it confirmed that you’re human and you’re doing the best you can, and on those grounds, I’ll accept it. But it’s really exciting. It truly is one of those things where if you believe in something, you work towards something, and then have the power of the business turn its eye on you and your efforts for two minutes, it’s so powerful and it’s so productive. It’s a force multiplier. It’s really exciting.”