Every once in a while, a film or documentary comes along, and long after viewing it, you are silenced, impacted by the profundity of what you’ve just experienced. That was the case with “Still”, the documentary I watched recently about Michael J Fox.

‘Back to the Future’ is one of those timeless movies where Marti McFly goes back to his childhood, having come from the Future. It is entertaining, timeless humour and edge-of-your-seat excitement.

It seems like no other actor could be as convincing as Michael J Fox in that role. But sadly, in 1991, at the tender age of 29, he was diagnosed as having Parkinson’s, which is a progressive disease of the nervous system marked by tremors and muscular rigidity chiefly affecting middle-aged and older adults.

The documentary switches between Michael living with the condition now and his meteoric rise to stardom.

I want to share some of my favourite scenes that resonate with everyday life, especially if you’re pursuing a dream.

I’ve never subscribed to the view of a ‘self-made man or woman’ as someone or serendipity has helped them along the way.

A perfect illustration of this is at 16, an opportunity came up in Hollywood that Michael wanted to pursue, and his Dad, a pragmatist who, as a young boy, had had his dreams knocked out of him as him about his desire to go.

He asked Michael, “Are you sure this is what you want to do”?
Michael – Absolutely
Dad – You’re that confident?
Michael – Absolutely
Dad “Well, if you’re going to be a lumberjack, you gotta go to the forest.”

And off they went, driving from Canada to Hollywood.

His dad put their entire trip to Hollywood on his Visa card and patiently drove him to meetings while he waited outside. He left Michael in Hollywood shortly afterwards, saying, “You’ve got the world by the tail; hold on.”

Who knows where Michael J Fox would be without his Dad taking that leap of faith in his son?

Three years later, he was still fighting to make it, having enlisted Ronald McDonald as his exclusive nutritionist, had no money, or phone, owed the IRS, and was ducking the landlord, but as he said, “I still had a chip and a chair,” which in Poker means, he was still in the game.

As I watched the movie, I thought, wow, such determination.

And then, the opportunity with Family Fortune came up, which changed his life forever. At that moment and for several years after, there was no indication of the disease, and it wasn’t until he woke up one morning and noticed the first symptoms -his little finger twitching uncontrollably.

A touching moment was observing how he went through the 4 phases of change after learning of his diagnosis – shock, anger, acceptance and commitment, as he concealed it for seven years before going public.

Seeing the experience of Michael J Fox, who has endured his condition for the better part of 30 years, is truly humbling.

Watching him struggle to do what we take for granted – brushing his teeth, for example – while his hand shakes uncontrollably made me realise
how fortunate I am.

In 2000, he established The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, which has revolutionised scientific philanthropy, mobilised the Parkinson community, and raised nearly 2 billion dollars.

He’s an amazing man, and I will leave the last word to Michael, who says, “I’m apathetic and a tough son of a bitch,” he sure is.