Michael J. Fox receives honorary Oscar for work toward Parkinson’s research

Michael J. Fox accepted an honorary Oscar in an emotional speech at the 13th Annual Governors Awards on Saturday in Los Angeles.

The beloved Back To The Future lead received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, which honors individuals “whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry,” for his work with The Michael J. Fox Foundation, which funds research into Parkinson’s disease.

“It made me feel really proud of all the people who work at the foundation. All the patients who contributed their life stories,” Fox told Good Morning America on the red carpet. “It’s really humbling, I mean, it’s truly humbling.”

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder that affects the central nervous system and impairs movement, often including tremors, according to the Mayo Clinic. Currently, there is no known cause or cure for Parkinson’s disease.

Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991 and subsequently became an advocate for finding a cure. He founded The Michael J. Fox Foundation in 2000 and the foundation has since become the largest non-profit funder of Parkinson’s disease research in the world and has funded more than $1.5 billion of research projects to date, according to the foundation’s website.

Fox, who retired from acting in 2020 due to the progression of his disease, was supported by his wife Tracy Pollen, his four children, as well as his longtime-friend, and Back To The Future co-star, Christopher Lloyd on Saturday night while he received the high honor.

“My optimism is fueled by my gratitude,” Fox said during his acceptance speech. “With gratitude, optimism is sustainable.”

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