There are more celebrities with Parkinson’s disease than we originally believe. Some popular celebrities include Billy Conolly, the Scottish comedian and actor, and Michael J fox; the actor famously known for his role in Back to the future.  

Muhammad Ali, the professional boxer who is regarded as one of the most significant and celebrated figures of the 20th century, as well as the greatest boxers of all time, was diagnosed with Parkinsons at the tender age of 42 years old. There are many more celebrities who suffer from Parkinson’s but are still living out their lives. 

So, what is Parkinson’s? Parkinson’s Disease is a condition in which parts of the brain become progressively damaged over the years. The condition can affect the way you communicate and move. The main three symptoms of Parkinson’s are uncontrollable shaking in parts of the body, slow movements and stiff/inflexible muscles. A person with Parkinson’s can also experience a broad range of other physical and psychological symptoms including depression and anxiety, balancing problems, loss of sense of smell, problems sleeping and memory problems.  

Referring back to Muhammad Ali, individuals with Parkinson’s can still remain hopeful. Muhammed Ali quoted: “I have Parkinson’s but Parkinson’s doesn’t have me.” Along with his self-belief he had in his boxing abilities, he also had faith in himself despite his Parkinson’s diagnosis. He is also quoted saying, regarding his diagnosis: “I am a prisoner in my own body but my mind is good.” This particular quote suggests that despite Parkinson’s being known for taking individual’s abilities and personality etc, Muhammed remained positive that Parkinson’s could not take away who he was.  

Michael J Fox was diagnosed with young onset-Parkinson’s in 1991 at the age of 29. He quoted that his life was “really quiet and he was actually having a good time.” He also quoted: “In fact, Parkinson’s had made me a better person. A better husband, father and overall human being.” After being cautioned he had a good ten years left working as normal, he quickly signed a three-film contract appearing in the movies: For love or money (1993), Life with Mikey (1993) and Greedy (1994). He then started his own foundation for Parkinson’s research in the year 2000 and the organisation has managed to raise increasing funds every year. Overall, it has raised over 700 million since it was launched.  

Ozzy Osbourne, the singer and tv personality, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2003. He states that it has been a ‘very challenging time’ in his life but his fan’s breathe life back into him. His wife, Sharon Osbourne, said: “It’s not a death sentence but it affects certain nerves in your body. You have a good day, another good day then a really bad day.”  

People can look to these celebrities for inspiration when it comes to dealing with the disease that is Parkinson’s. All of them have still remained hopeful throughout their journey and are still leading fulfilling lives despite the struggles they may face. Whilst Parkinson’s disease can be extremely challenging, it can also make individuals appreciate the things we don’t even consider like being able to talk and move as we please. Together, we can all keep on fighting for a cure for this impactful disease. 

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