A couple of nights ago, Michael J. Fox won the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian award. “The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, an Oscar statuette, is given to an ‘individual in the motion picture industry whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.’” It isn’t surprising he won the award.
In the 80s, Fox was one of the top stars in the world. His characters in television and film were iconic. In the early 90s his life changed with a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease. Fox kept his diagnosis secret for many years. In 1998, he went public with his diagnosis and ever since has been advocate to find a cure for the disease. Learn more about his efforts at the Michael J Fox Foundation
I took time to watch Fox’s acceptance speech for his award. Watching the speech I became overwhelmed with emotion. I was reminded of his optimism, compassion, and humor. I reflected on his career. I wondered what career had have been. Side note: My favorite movie of his is Doc Hollywood.
Mostly, I was reminded of my mother. Like Fox, in the early 90s, my mother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. I remember her optimism when Fox went public with his diagnosis. She was hopeful his money and star power would help find a cure in time for her. While the cure did not come in time for my mother, I remain hopeful that a cure will come in my lifetime. I am grateful for the attention Michael J Fox has given Parkinson’s Disease.
He ends his speech with the following words:
“Because my optimism is fueled by my gratitude. And with gratitude, optimism is sustainable.”
The challenge today is to be optimistic. We all have challenges but can we face them with the optimism of Michael J Fox? Use your gratitude to sustain your optimism for a better world.