Why heroes are important in life with Parkinson’s disease

A columnist shares how her hero, Michael J. Fox, has inspired her

Jamie Askari avatar

by Jamie Askari |

Share this article:

Share article via email
The banner image depicts friends having a picnic beneath rainbows. The writing on the image reads

“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” — Christopher Reeve

A hero is typically admired for their achievements and noble qualities, while a classical hero might be someone who dies in the pursuit of honor. From my perspective, a hero is someone who overcomes adversity and does it with a smile. I suppose we all have our own definition.

Throughout our lifetimes, we’ll likely have multiple people we look up to and admire. While your childhood hero may have been a cartoon character or a musician, your role models probably look a bit different in adulthood.

I decided to take a survey to see who my family’s heroes are. Unsurprisingly, I initially got some silly answers from my oldest daughter. (I will not name her “heroes” to avoid offending readers!) But in the end, everyone named other family members. I was the outlier, as I chose Michael J. Fox.

Recommended Reading
The banner image depicts friends having a picnic beneath rainbows. The writing on the image reads

Botox for Parkinson’s disease symptoms? It’s not just for wrinkles.

In my opinion, Fox is the ultimate hero in the Parkinson’s community. His symptoms began with a twitching pinkie finger and now include tremors, rigidity, and difficulty speaking. What started as a talented actor’s 1991 diagnosis of early-onset Parkinson’s disease has evolved into a nonprofit that has funded $1.5 billion in research programs.

In addition to his dedication to finding a cure for Parkinson’s, Fox has also worked to improve acceptance and understanding of the disease. This means a lot to me because my husband, Arman, was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s in 2009.

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to learn more about my hero when “Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie” was recently released on Apple TV. While I was eager to watch the documentary about his journey with early-onset Parkinson’s disease, I was also somewhat apprehensive. It can be scary for me to see the future of this disease, and it’s often easier to live in the present. But the film was fantastic, and my hero did not disappoint. His family is beautiful, happy, and seems to laugh through the hard times — exactly as I hope my family will continue to do as Arman’s disease progresses.

We can look to our heroes for inspiration in both good times and bad. If your hero is a family member or friend, they can be a shoulder to cry on, someone who will dry your tears and help you to your feet when you’re down. And on your best days, they may cheer for you, loudly or quietly, from the sidelines.

It’s true that not all heroes wear capes. They come in all shapes and sizes and may not look how we expect them to. Who knows, you may be a hero to someone without even knowing it.

Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.


Hansheng avatar


This topic"hero" is so great, it makes me excited.
However, at first I was frustrated, as you say, " heroes are usually admired for their achievements and noble qualities, and classical heroes may be people who die in pursuit of honor."I am an ordinary man, without great achievements and noble qualities, nor die in pursuit of honor. I have no hope and no chance to be a hero.
But your next words gave me the courage,“from my perspective, a hero is someone who overcomes adversity and does it with a smile." I can smile in the face of adversity (Parkinson's disease). I can say that I am a 50 percent hero.
Trust me, I can definitely do that.
Thank you, Jamie.

Jamie Askari avatar

Jamie Askari

By smiling while dealing with a disease like Parkinson's, you are delfnately a hero!! Thanks for reading!


Leave a comment

Fill in the required fields to post. Your email address will not be published.