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I’ve never met Michael J. Fox, and doubt I ever will. He’s not a fan so far as I know, and has almost certainly never heard of me. I’m not seeking his endorsement. This is a tiny blog with a very small readership, so he’ll never read these words.

In short, there’s nothing in it for me…to write about him. Which is proof these words come from my heart.

I’ll make this short. As you know, I value your time, and only write when I feel I have something important to say. I could wait till Mike is in the news, but that would be opportunistic, and unworthy of the subject matter.

I’m busy, you’re busy. But I’m pausing a moment to express my admiration and gratitude for not only Mike, who is an extraordinary human being, but for all those special people who exude character and class every day of their lives while fighting debilitating diseases hell-bent on breaking them down and killing their spirits. I’m talking about not only Mike, but your friends and mine, and our relatives.

I’m sure Mike has rough days where he struggles to stay positive, days when fatigue gets the better of him, days when he wonders from what reservoir can he possibly extract another ounce of strength. But here’s a guy…wow! I’m almost at a loss for words. It takes a lot of courage for a former leading man to put himself out there and take his battle to the enemy in front of all the world’s cameras. So truly…wow!

And yet, we all have friends and relatives who have it even worse than Mike. These quiet family heroes bravely battle incurable diseases without the benefit of an adoring public. My cousin, Susan’s, battle would overwhelm me in no time, and yet she maintains an attitude that shames me to complain about the insignificant trials I face. I have a friend, Lisa, who’s in the middle of a tragic battle. She’s showing us all, by example, what it means to have true courage. Your friends and relatives are doing the same. I wish I could single each of them out and praise their epic, individual examples.

Mike, Susan, Lisa…and your friends and family members are giving us a blueprint for how to live our lives with courage and dignity. They’re teaching us how to face fear and overcome obstacles. How to live extraordinary lives in the face of crushing physical and emotional devastation.

I only know Michael J. Fox through his TV and movie roles and public appearances, and I don’t know your loved ones at all. But I love them. Love them the same way I love my friends and family members who bravely fight the fight. Love their mental toughness. Admire their ability to handle adversity.

I write books about kooky characters and larger-than-life heroes, but I’ll tell you something right now: the amazing true-life heroes we all know and love are everything that’s right, noble and true about humankind. Their remarkable determination, unbreakable will, and their indomitable courage will surely be placed as credits to their names in Paradise.

Michael J. Fox is the name of this blog, and its face. But it’s a blog about all who struggle daily, while displaying the mental fortitude to prevail against overwhelming odds. It’s for all the Dick Clarks of the world. The Roger Eberts. The Susans, the Lisas, and it’s for your parents, your siblings, your friends and your loved ones. So when I say Mike, I’m talking about a million amazing people who are absolutely worth pausing a few minutes to think about and honor. Since I can’t single everyone out by name, I’ll just say:

Keep fighting the good fight, Mike. I love you, man!

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Joe Gray
Joe Gray says:
I couldn't agree more. He's an amazing inspiration to millions of people. Once in a while I try to imagine how I would be if I had a tragic, life-threatening illness. I like to think I would be a brave and uplifting example to those whose lives I touch. But do any of us truly know how it will be until we're there? I hope I don't have to find out -- but if I am chosen for that role, I certainly hope I can help others even half as much as Michael J. Fox has.... he's the kind of person that makes me believe there's hope for mankind after all.
Wendy says:
John, very deep post but what you write is so true. I have a friend with cancer who is now cancer free but still taking drugs to keep it at bay. We were having dinner and she had a bad reaction due to her medication. She got up from the table, ran outside and barfed on the front lawn. I can't even imagine how she felt but she came back inside but she came back in laughing at her self. While we didn't ignore the fact, we acknowledged and moved on. The fortitude that she showed us that night made us feel small and made us realize how fortunate we are. People bitch about the most inane things sometimes. When you see people holding their head up with dignity in times of diversity, you should take a step back and be thankful for the small things in life because in reality, they are the things that count.
Meredith Bates
Meredith Bates says:
Thank you, John, for putting into words what is in so many of our hearts. I have a friend who I believe to be the bravest, most positive man I've ever seen in the face of horrible odds and illness. He is a hero and role model for us who know and love him and I pray that I have one ounce of his courage and perseverance. People like him and Michael J. Fox do indeed give us hope for the human race.
CK Webb
CK Webb says:
I love this post and tip my hat to everyone who keeps a smile in the darkest of days. I have an autistic son who never met a stranger and even during his difficult days, he finds a way to smile. My brother-in-law was diagnosed with MS almost five years ago and I watch helplessly as a young man of 34 struggles to walk and to feed himself and yet he still manages a warm smile and a bright outlook. My own mother has seen heartache that I cannot fathom and inspires me everyday. I catch myself when I complain and I remember the people in the world who, despite being dealt a meager hand in life, manage to make a full house of their cards. Here's to all the 'Michaels' in the world and the people the continuously inspire. I pray that one day, I can be a light in dark places when othes lose their way!
Maggie says:
Tears in my eyes - here, here to you so very eloquently said. What a great tribute you did.
Gary Ponzo
Gary Ponzo says:
Very nice post, John. Makes me want to hug my kids for an hour.
Jonathan Gunson
Hi John Michael J Fox spent quite some time here in New Zealand, making the movie 'The Frighteners' with Peter Jackson, way back in 1996. He was quite home sick I think, but always gracious, polite and accommodating to all. We blithely say in the fiction business that true character appears in a crisis. MJF is a real-life example of how to behave under pressure. Always the gentlman, always showing the way. We liked him in 'Back to the Future', and grew to love and admire him here in the South Pacific ... we still do. Jonathan Gunson
Donald Wells
Donald Wells says:
John, your life must be incredibly busy, and yet you took the time to write this and remind us all of the heroes we live with each day. You are a very classy man. Thank you.
Stuart Ross McCallum
Bravo John, for highlighting the way, Michael J Fox's has enveloped the ideology of the human spirit in positive ways. Most of us will remember his undeniable zest for life during his outstanding career as an actor. However, his courage (while battling Parkinson) to share his fight while under the scrutiny of the world spotlight is testament of his remarkable character. After all, isn't a persons character what we truly respect.
Maryruth H. Barksdale
Maryruth H. Barksdale says:
I often wonder the "what ifs" in life. What if I were on a plane ready to crash---would I stampede others for the lifelines? Would I want to help others? What if I became sick w/a life ending illness? Would I be like my Sister who passed two and a half years ago, and worry more about the ones she would be leaving? Or would I whine and cry, why me? Of course, I want to be strong, caring and as positive as those in life that are the Michael J.Fox's or the late Christopher Reed, my sister Betty; as well as so many others. Today I pray for strength and courage to meet every day. Thanks John for the post to make us think of the what ifs. Maryruth
Sharon W
Sharon W says:
Thank you John. This was uplifting for me on this gloomy morning after having spoken to my sister last night who recently miscarried and having a co-worker and mother in law who are both having surgery this week. Tough week. There are so many around us with illnesses and health issues that have to put on a brave face every day. I admire these individuals. This post puts things into perspective for me. I thank God every night for everything that he has provided - our health, loving family, our son, our home, our jobs. Thanks again John.
Kendall Swan
Kendall Swan says:
Great post, Donovan, I mean, John. Perspective is the cure for most complaints and your post provides some nicely. I read Fox's Lucky Man and Always Looking Up- both great books. He describes situations with his illness with a light touch. I don't know think I could face those same situations with as much grace as he did. He is an amazing human being doing some amazing things with his time here. Kendall Swan
Michelle Muto
Michelle Muto says:
I have always been a fan of Michael J. Fox. Not just because he's funny or is a good actor, either. Not just because I loved his book, Always Looking Up. But because he's an incredible person - a great husband and father. He's good to his friends. He fights for what he believes in. He's down to earth and seems so honest. He knows how to take a negative and turn it into something better. He handles life and its problems with empathy and grace. Great post, John. May we all look upon life like Michael.
Andrea Bundrick
Andrea Bundrick says:
This was such a wonderful thing to blog about. I am currently a nursing student and I am amazed nearly every time I step into the hospital at how people deal with their illness, disability, or any of the other challenges they face. I get to see the best and the worst of human nature on a daily basis. It warms my heart in ways I cannot express to be a part of someone's journey when they are in my care. It's an honor to help people when they need it the most and I always walk out of there changed in some way.
Steve Jackson
John, Claudia showed me your post because of the time that I have spent working with healthcare charities moving their research dollars from academic grants to collaboration with commercial pharma in an effort to find a cure. As you and I have discussed, most of these are exceptional organizations carrying forward the good fight to cure a chronic illness. Some, unfortunately some of the better known ones, but fortunately the definite minority, not so good. The Michael J. Fox Foundation is one of the good ones. A very good one. Their model of raising money via significant (large dollar amount) philanthropy from those who can really afford it is a winner. Their spending model is one of the best. They focus on truly moving drug discovery and development into the real world of clinical trials that will someday yield a cure. They have my deepest respect. I listened to Mike speak at a conference. His grace and dignity came through in major amounts. And, even while living a personal nightmare, he kept his sense of humor and perspective. At one point in the talk, he mentioned that a once promising drug for Parkinsons wasn't working out, but that it had been successfully cross-purposed in the veterinary market as an anti-anxiety medication. He joked that even thought the compound was not going to be the cure he had hoped for, his dog was dealing with his master's Parkinsons in a much more relaxed way! There are many celebrities that endorse the work being done to cure a major illness. Few have put it on the line like Michael J. Fox.
Wendy Z
Wendy Z says:
Thank you for posting something so worthwhile. Perspective is everything, and I appreciate you taking a little of your own "celebrity" to share such a good message. It makes me wish - and hope - that more of us could be like Mike. Very classy message, very positive blog. Thank you for making my week!
Rich Alderman
Wow, I don't know how to express my thoughts and feelings on such a wonderful, heartfelt, and meaningful post. I too am a fan of Michael Fox even going back to Family Ties and always liked his characters and his acting. But it is Michael's character which truly makes him worthy of respect and love. Thank you John for reminding us that there are people like Michael who demonstrate by doing and living a genuinely good life what it is to truly be winning.
Tessa says:
its really early here in New Zealand and you just made me cry xx
Betty Dravis
Betty Dravis says:
Wow, John, it amazes me how you manage to write words of praise for Michael J. Fox's courage, modesty and strength and then tie it in with the battles that each of us fight on a daily basis... Some of us have burdens larger than others, but we all have loved ones who are in deep pain, like our beloved Michael... Yes, he is beloved around the world for carrying on "in the public eye" rather than having a pity party and hiding in the solitude of his own home. He is awesome!!! It's hard to know the mysterious ways in which the Lord works, but it almost makes me think he chose someone like Michael because He knew he would reach more people than the average person. Michael does, indeed, inspire throngs of people. Since Christopher Reeve inspires my grandson Seth who suffered a spinal injury in a motorcycle accident ten years ago and is in a wheelchair, I must mention him along with Michael... Bravo to these brave souls...and caring people, like you, John, who help spread the word about inspiring others. By way of our own books in the DREAM REACHERS series, my co-author Chase Von and I are doing our best to inspire others to "go for their dreams" by looking past their obstacles and stretching to reach the heights, also. Chase, himself, is a double-Vet and suffers PTSD. Bless him; he certainly inspires others with his courage, his prose and his poetry. Thanks for sharing this wonderful site. I look forward to being inspired by Michael and by you. Best of luck with Donavan Creed and all your wonderful characters in your fabulous e-Book series. I'm on my fifth or sixth e-Book by John Locke, and now I'm off to read more of WISH LIST. :-) Hugs - Betty Dravis
answerseeker says:
Loved this post, I too have watched MJF starring in The Good Wife and admire his courage. He does an amazing Job of reminding us that a critical illness like Parkinsons does not prevent anyone from being a whole person. My elderly Mother has just passed away and I am sorry to say that it was only towards the end when I saw how tired she was that I truly acknowledged how difficult her life had been for many years. As a Family I honestly cant say whether we where in denial of her illness or whether we still just saw her as Mum and didnt see the Parkinson. We have let her go now, her mind and body where failing her and she was scared, she was finding it very hard to judge was happening and what was imagined often asking "was that real"? On the eve ofMums death there was a headline in the Paper "cure for Altzheimers within three years" and we felt cheated that a cure for parkinsons had not been found for my Mum. I dearly hope that help for Parkinsons is also just around the corner for MJF and all other sufferers. I for one will continue to try to see past dissability, hard as that sometimes is, and respect the sufferers bravery. Kath McGovern 1932-2011
Stephanie says:
Very well put and the most honest thing i have read in a while. Had a couple of tears myself because you can't help but indentify with it and see someone in your own life as you read the words. Made me stop and think, and realise just how lucky i am in my life. Could always be better, but as it's pointed out, could be a hell of a lot worse. I am a fan of anyone who can write something like that.
Diana says:
Thanks for acknowledging those of us who suffer every day of our lives. Sometimes, that's all we need.
Rich Possert
Rich Possert says:
Funny how circumstances intertwine each of us into one another either physically or electronically. I sat on the computer on my ship, looking for some good reading on Amazon for my Kindle. Your books came highly reviewed, so, liking the genre and the reviews, I starte downloading them for something to pass the time while out to sea. Your Donovan Creed novels were quite the read; I won't pass all kinds of kudos for those as this isn't really the forum. But they were quite entertaining to say the least - I have now read all of them in the last month. I just finished one of your last DC novels, "Vegas Moon". At the end of it, there was a link to this blog of yours. This blog entry you wrote regarding MJF and others who "fight the good fight" struck a power chord in my heart. See, John, my wife Rachel was a victim of a disease she fought hard against for 5 long and courageous years. Whether it was the surgeries, the treatments, the life changes, and even dying, she maintained her strength and dignity through it all. MJF, and thousands upon thousands of others who either diligently fight a dibilitating disease or care for someone who does, are inspirational to us all - and their strength is something for us to feed off of - we receive said strength as a nutrient to our soul much like a healthy meal provides our body with vitamins and minerals essential to a quality life. I have become a huge fan our yours, Mr. Locke. Your blog post tonight just reinforces that. I encourage you to read my blog and hope that you could receive some inspiration and hope from it. Keep up the great work and I am of course looking forward to your next release! RKP
Gayle says:
I have a chronic illness. The past two days were really rough ones for me, and to distract myself from my pain/fatigue I spent my time reading "Follow the Stone" and "Don't Poke the Bear." It lightened my mood, and had me laughing at times. The 1.98 I spent on the two books were more help to me than any medication would have been. I ran across your blog today while looking to download your first Donavan Creed book. THANK YOU!!! If it weren't for authors like you, I would miss the escape that books/reading provides me-- especially on my bad days! Today is a good day! :-)
Cat says:
this post was a gentle reminder to me; live each day fully, be grateful for my blessings, honor others. thank you!
Live says:
Hi from Australia John. I had never heard of you before this evening, when I ran across a post on Mashable about your success with publishing on the Kindle platform, which then led me here and to this post. Us mid-40's guys aren't supposed to cry or be touched by stuff like this, but I was and thank you... I have a disease that may kill me before my time, but I was given a reprieve a few years ago thanks to a successful major surgery. At times, I forget how close I came to dying and how scared I was at time. It's almost like a dream now, except when I open my shirt & see the huge scar. Then there's my good friend whose wife battled & beat cancer recently only to be struck down with it himself within 6 months of her being given the all clear! God, how cruel life can be some days. His operation was a success, thankfully! Life can be tough at times, but there are worse things than a rough day at work, or not having enough money, or not having achieved all your goals. MJF is an inspiration - I don't know if I could be as strong as him in the same circumstances - but he & people like my friend & his wife all show that life is worth fighting for, and we CAN make a positive difference in other peoples lives. Thanks for your powerful words John, and when my new Kindle arrives this week, I shall buy one of your books to see if you're as good as so many others say you are :-) Eran PS: Any relation to John Locke on Lost? ;-) He was an intriguing character! PPS: Congrats on hitting the 1 Million ebook mark - as 1 marketer to another, that's an awesome achievement! :-)
Mary McCauley
Beautiful tribute. I am smiling through the tears. I've been a fan of Michael's since his Alex Keaton days and I too admire his strength. Love watching him on The Good Wife when he appears. He's still charming and cute. Thanks for writing this. I shared it on my facebook page. Mary McCauley
Roni says:
Thank you for thinking of MJF and all the rest of us who deal with horrible illnesses every day. I've read all your books and thank you so much for providing me an escape for a little while. I'm a caregiver to my husband and your books and others give me back the strength I need after a rough day.
joseph b licata
joseph b licata says:
i have a wife who is her last stages of parkinson .she is only 57 year old and it is is killing me to see her this state .she is a good women allways loved her familly .her friends never come to see her and her familly has done the same.i have a daughter that done the best she can for her .i have had prostrate cancer and went 8 weeks of radiation and never told my frends told to pray ...i have prayed and the phone seems like no body cares. i have lost a son with cancer and my first wife cancer.iam sorry i throubled you with this .i just what some pease and somone who understand.thankyou joe
BonBon says:
Hi John, I hope you are still looking here. My husband was told today he may have ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. I am stunned. The love of my life, the big strong man is shuffling around and it is killing me. I know there must be wonderful sites dedicated to this disease, with all kind of links and addresses and groups, but for reasons I can't articulate, I just wanted to write it here. Not on twitter, not on facebook, not on amazon. We will prevail, but oh help. I need a backbone so that he will not have to try to make me feel better. Your article about Michael Fox is one step toward taking this weird ALS situation on and making it ours, because that's what it is. And I am so grateful to have the "frigates" as Emily Dickensen calls them, books - your books - to take me off the grid when I need to. Just saying thanks.
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Renee Musick
Renee Musick says:
John, thank you for reminding me that I need to keep fighting and to keep my head up. I have spent the last 8 years fighting, yesterday I had some further bad news and almost had given up, your post reminded me that I'm on this earth for a reason, I found this message at just the right time,I think you looked into my head and direccted me to your message, thank you, keep writing so I can stay sane and get a couple laughs. Renee Musick
Martha Holtsclaw Brantley
Martha Holtsclaw Brantley says:
Hi Johnny! I have just found your Blog and read only a little, but I will read more. You have such an amazing way with words. I want to THANK YOU for your tribute to Susan! She has and is an inspiration to me and all those around her! Every Chemo treatment, procedure, etc. she has gone through with such Grace! She reminds me so much of Daddy when he fought his fight. How will we ever live up to their standards?? I did call Susan and told her she needed to read your Blog. She told me that you have written her notes that have so inspired her! Thank you, Johnny! and Merry Christmas! Matha
Janet says:
John, you are a beacon of light in the darkness of the tunnel that is this world in which we live. May your words continue to reach millions and extend the message! God speed to you and your writing.
Michael Stegmayr
Dear John, have to tell you an amazing story, that happend yesterda to me. I am in the progress of writing an eBook about mountain hiking and therefore bought your book "How I sold ..." I went by bus (which is quite popular in Munich, Germany), when I was reading your "Michael J. Fox" Story on page 121. The story (as your whole book) impressed me enormously and I was thinking, where I could get a hero from, who would be related to my supject. Just at that moment I looked outside the window of the bus and saw a poster, where Andy Holzer advertised for a presentation. The amazing thing about Andy Holzer is, that he is a blind mountain climber. He was on 6 of the 7 summits. AND when I came home at night, I switched on the TV and Andy was in a Talkshow. Wanted to share that with you. Best regards from Munich, Bavaria, Germany - Michael