Ryan Reynolds says Michael J. Fox helped dad James ‘feel less alone’

Ryan Reynolds credits Michael J. Fox with making his late father James Chester Reynolds ‘feel less alone’ as he battled Parkinson’s disease before he died in 2015.

The 47-year-old actor praised Fox, 62, in a thoughtful essay for TIME’s 100 Most Influential People of 2024. 

The elder Reynolds died in 2015 following a 20-year fight with the degenerative condition, which Fox also has.

Ryan took to social media to share his essay about Michael writing: ‘I met Mike 17 years ago,’

‘I’ve watched him raise the bar for purpose and passion. It’d be kinda lazy to simply characterize him as the greatest champion of Parkinson’s research on the planet. He’s someone who helped my dad, along with millions of others, feel less alone.’

Ryan Reynolds credits Michael J. Fox with making his late father James Chester Reynolds 'feel less alone' as he battled Parkinson's disease before he died in 2015.; Fox, Reynolds, and Fox's wife Tracy Pollan pictured in 2019

Ryan pictured with mom Tammy and dad Jim in November 2005 - Jim died in 2015

On Instagram, Ryan prefaced his TIME essay with a note to his 51.4 million followers.

It read: ‘I wrote this short blurb about Michael J Fox (@realmikejfox) for the annual #Time100.

‘This man means a lot to me. And I know he means a lot to many of you…’

His tribute began, ‘I know Michael J. Fox. Like, I know him pretty damn well. He’s funny. He’s warm. He’s handsome and intensely smart.’

It was added: ‘He also falls a lot. Not just because he has Parkinson’s. He falls a lot because he’s unafraid to fly.

‘I met Mike 17 years ago. I’ve watched him raise the bar for purpose and passion. It’d be kinda lazy to simply characterize him as the greatest champion of Parkinson’s research on the planet.’

Ryan, who shares four children with wife Blake Lively, continued, ‘It’d be kinda lazy to simply regard him as a movie star who shaped the lives of people all over the planet with a uniquely electric wit and self-aware charm. He’s the sum of these beautiful parts. And so many more.’

Then, referencing his daughter James, who is named after his father, Ryan said, ‘Last year I watched Back to the Future with my 8-year-old daughter. It’s become her favourite film.’

Earlier this week, Ryan took to social media to share the bit he wrote about Michael for the legacy publication

Ryan shared this photo of him and his dad online when he announced his death in 2015

Fox took to Instagram to thank Reynolds, sharing in a comment: 'With friends like @vancityreynolds it¿s easier to accomplish anything. Thanks buddy'


What is Parkinson’s disease?

Parkinson’s disease is a condition in which parts of the brain become progressively damaged over many years, according to the NHS website.

What are the symptoms?

The NHS says there are three major symptoms, including tremors or shaking, slowness of movement and muscle stiffness.

Other symptoms include problems with balance, loss of smell, nerve pain, excessive sweating and dizziness.

Some people can also experience lack of sleep, excessive production of saliva and problems swallowing, causing malnutrition and dehydration.

What are the early signs?

Symptoms can start gradually, sometimes beginning with a barely noticeable tremor in just one part of the body.

In the early stages, people may show little or no expression, and their arms may not swing when they walk.

Speech can also become soft or slurred, with the condition worsening over time.

What are the causes?

Some scientists believe a combination of genetic and environmental factors are the cause of Parkinson’s disease.

It occurs after a person experiences loss of nerve cells in a part of their brain.

However, it is not known why the loss of nerve cells associated with the condition takes place but research is ongoing to identify potential causes.

Scientists say genetics factor can increase a person’s risk of developing the disease, and can therefore run in families.

Other factors attributed to causing the condition include environmental problems such as pollution, though such links are inconclusive, the NHS says.

How is it diagnosed?

No tests can conclusively show if a person has the disease, but doctors can make a diagnosis based on symptoms, medical history and a physical examination.

A specialist will ask the person to write or draw, walk or speak to check for any common signs of the condition.

They may even check for difficulty making facial expressions and slowness of limb movement.

How many people are affected?

Around 145,000 people live with Parkinson’s disease in the UK, according to the charity Parkinson’s UK.

What happens if someone is diagnosed?

According to the charity, it is a legal requirement to contact the DVLA, as a diagnosed person will need to have a medical or driving assessment.

The organisation also advises people to contact any insurance providers and find out about financial support available.

People are also encouraged to partake in more exercise.

Can it be treated?

Although there is no cure, a number of treatments are available to help reduce the symptoms.

The main remedies include medication, exercise, therapy and surgery, which can help people in different ways.

What medication is available and what are the side effects?

Medication can be helpful in improving the main symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, such as shaking and movement problems.

There are three main types which are commonly used, levodopa, dopamine agonist or a MAO-B inhibitor. Each can affect people in different ways.

The drugs do have some side effects, including impulsive and compulsive behaviour, hallucinations, sleep issues and blood pressure changes.

What therapy is available?

There are several therapies available to those with Parkinson’s through the NHS.

Among them are physiotherapy to reduce muscle stiffness, occupational therapy to help with completing day-to-day tasks and speech and language coaching.

Does this change the way you live?

Most people’s life expectancy will not change a great deal, though more advanced symptoms can lead to increased disability and poor health.

It can also cause some cognitive issues and changes to mood and mental health.

Those with Parkinson’s are encouraged to exercise more often, with scientists saying 2.5 hours of exercise a week is enough to slow the progression of symptoms.

About the 1985 movie starring Fox, he went on, ‘And for now, that’s enough for me—and her. One more kid from one more generation sees what I saw.

‘I know how lucky I am to call Mike a friend. She still has no idea that I know him. I don’t need to teach my daughter the level of compassion Mike has mastered.’

‘Or teach her to tell stories the way Mike tells stories. I need to teach her that it’s OK to fall a lot. It’s the absolute best way to know you’re flying,’ he concluded.

The post has so far collected more than 740,000 likes. 

Fox took to Instagram to thank Reynolds, sharing in a comment: ‘With friends like @vancityreynolds it’s easier to accomplish anything. Thanks buddy.’ 

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This was shown first on: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-13329729/Ryan-Reynolds-says-Michael-J-Fox-helped-late-father-James-feel-20-year-battle-Parkinsons-emotional-post.html

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