Michael J. Fox was presented an honorary Oscar on Saturday, Nov. 19, for his decades of advocacy work with Parkinson’s disease.
Fox was honored with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the 13th Governors Awards in Los Angeles. On the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' website, the award is awarded to an “individual in the motion picture industry whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.”
Fox, who founded the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research in 2000, received a standing ovation while being awarded the honor. He was introduced by fellow actor Woody Harrelson.
The “Back to the Future” star opened up during his speech about being diagnosed with Parkinson’s when he was 29, telling the audience, “The hardest part was grappling with the certainty of the diagnosis and the uncertainty of the situation," according to The Hollywood Reporter.
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Fox called Parkinson’s the “gift that keeps on taking,” but deemed it a gift nonetheless.
The 61-year-old actor also took a moment during his speech to thank his wife of 34 years, Tracy Pollan, for her unwavering support. “Tracy made it clear she was with me for the duration," Fox said, according to USA Today.
Fox and Pollan have been married since July 1988 and share four children: Sam, 33, Aquinnah, 27, Schuyler 27, and Esmé, 21.
He invited his wife to the podium to conclude his speech, adding, “I cannot believe I have been standing here for this long, it’s a miracle."
"I cannot walk and carry this thing," he said, referring to the award. "But I ask Tracy to once again carry the weight.”
Harrelson presented the award to his "Doc Hollywood" co-star, touting the $1 billion Fox has raised for Parkinson’s research over the years.
“This guy was a master class in comedy,” Harrelson said. “He turned a chilling diagnosis into a courageous mission. Michael J. Fox never asked for the role of Parkinson’s advocate, but it is his best performance.”
Fox said he still considers himself lucky despite his health struggles. He explained, “I told my father I was moving to Hollywood when I dropped out of high school, and he drove me down, because I was making a living ... Then I met the woman I married and had the children I had and lived the life I had.”
“Still, it’s hard to explain to people how lucky I am, because I also have Parkinson’s, he said. “Some days are a struggle. Some days are more difficult than others. But the disease is this thing that’s attached to my life — it isn’t the driver.”
This story first appeared on TODAY.com. More from TODAY: