Beloved actor Michael J. Fox shared in a candid interview with Stat News that living with Parkinson’s disease has been a challenging journey, and that the past year has been particularly difficult for him. Despite the challenges, he said that he is “feeling better now,” and there’s renewed hope in the Parkinson’s community due to a groundbreaking discovery.

Michael J. Fox, best known for his iconic roles in Back to the Future and Family Ties, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991 at the age of 29. Since then, he has been an outspoken advocate for Parkinson’s research and has used his platform to raise awareness and advocate for funding and support for the disease.

Fox expressed his feelings about living with Parkinson’s, saying, “it’s been a terrible year.” He continued, “Pity is a benign form of abuse. I can feel sorry for myself, but I don’t have time for that. There is stuff to be learned from this, so let’s do that and move on.” He opened up about his disease after the screening of his documentary, Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie, which will stream on Apple TV+ May 12.

Parkinson’s is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that affects movement, causing symptoms such as tremors, rigidity, and balance problems, as well as non-motor symptoms such as depression, anxiety,  and sleep disturbances. Adding hope to the community, Fox mentioned a groundbreaking discovery in spinal fluid. While he didn’t elaborate on details, this development could potentially be a significant advancement in understanding and developing new treatments for the disease.

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“It’s all changed. It can be known and treated early on. It’s huge,” said Fox. “This is the thing. This is the big reward. This is the big trophy.”

This research is thanks to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, founded in 2000. It is the largest nonprofit funder of Parkinson’s research in the world. The foundation’s invested millions of dollars in research projects aimed at understanding, developing new treatments, and ultimately finding a cure for the disease.