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Michael J. Fox talks about Parkinson's -- and optimism

April 26, 2009 |  5:38 pm


People started lining up three hours in advance to see Michael J Fox speak today at the Times Festival of Books.

Shortly after Fox began his discussion with L.A. Times TV critic Mary McNamara, an audience member collapsed and needed first aid. The woman regained consciousness, and Fox resumed discussion of his new book “Always Looking Up.”

Fox hasn't let his battle with Parkinson’s disease get him down; he has chosen instead to focus his life on optimism and dealing with his condition. “I didn’t have a choice in whether or not I got Parkinson’s,” Fox said. “But I have a thousand other choices beyond that.”

Fox also seems to have kept his sense of humor from his days on the TV show “Family Ties.” At one point in the discussion, he compared his rocking and shaking to a move by musician Axl Rose. He also had the audience laughing at his jokes and stories--like the time he told his wife that he was never going to finish his book on optimism.

Fox also discussed his initial resistance to becoming a poster boy for Parkinson’s, but he explained how he created his own take on the matter. “I help organize what holds the poster up,” Fox said. “I can back up what the poster says, so I don’t mind being on that poster.”

When listening to Fox make statements like “when every moment is in negotiation, you value it,” even a person like me, a Type One diabetic, realizes that he or she is not the only one with problems. It’s all in how you deal with those problems that matters.

Joshua Sandoval

Photo: Michael J. Fox, in an earlier photo. Credit: Associated Press