At the 13th Governors Awards, Michael J. Fox received an honorary Oscar for his decades of fighting for a world without Parkinson’s disease. Supported by his family Michael gratefully accepted the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award which is given to an individual, ‘whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.’
Michael was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1991 at age 29 and in 2000 started a foundation to fund further research into the condition. To date, the foundation has raised more than $1.5 billion.
“My optimism is fueled by my gratitude,” Fox said.
Fox gave a sharp, funny, thoughtful speech to accept the award. He recounted how he dropped out of high school to give acting a shot and a teacher told him, “Fox, you’re not going to be cute forever.”
“I didn’t know how to respond and I said, ‘Maybe just long enough,’” Fox said.
Before taking the stage to give an uplifting and optimistic speech himself, Fox was presented the award by his good friend Woody Harrelson.
“Michael J. Fox sets the ultimate example of how to fight and how to live. And today, he is as beloved for his activism as he is for his acting,” Harrelson shared with a crowd of A-listers.
“Michael J. Fox never asked for the role: Parkinson’s patient or disease advocate. But make no mistake, it is his greatest performance,” Harrelson noted.
“Michael brought the world to the same place where we all feel invested in finding a cure for a cruel disease. Vulnerable: yes. A victim: never. An inspiration: always. And a living, breathing symbol and singular voice to help advance progress toward a cure,” Harrelson said.
Congratulations Michael, you are truly an inspiration to everyone living with Parkinson’s.