Michael J. Fox, who has been fighting Parkinson’s Disease for thirty years, is a shining example of how positivity can be a powerful tool. He credits this to his mother, Phyllis, who died in September at 92.

As Fox put it, she was an enormously respected woman with a remarkable enthusiasm for life; her laughter and humor were contagious, and she had an excellent aptitude for listening and rendering fair judgments.

Despite living for nine decades, Phyllis never lost her wit or enthusiasm for life. She was known for her contagious smile, which seemed to spread joy wherever she went. Her presence comforted everyone around her, offering support during difficult times and delivering much-needed light during dark times.

Her unrivaled goodness stayed with people long after they’d engaged with her; even now that she’s gone, Michael J. Fox is inspired by his beloved mother and the sheer power of optimism that she adored so much.

When Michael J. Fox’s mother, Phyllis, learned of his Parkinson’s disease diagnosis in 1991, at the age of 29, she was naturally frightened. He was a working actor who had recently married actress Tracy Pollan and welcomed their first son Sam into the world. He had already begun founding the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research at the time.

They expanded their family further in 1995 with twin girls Aquinnah and Schuyler, and then again in 2001 with youngest Esmé. When asked how he could do it despite his illness, the actor replied: “It’s all thanks to God.”

“I simply keep going.” He explained that he learned this perseverance and resilience attitude from both his father (William), who served 25 years in the Canadian military before passing away in 1990, and his strong-willed mother, who refused to dwell on what could have been and instead focused her attention on all that life had to offer her family despite any losses that may have occurred along the way.

William, Phyllis, and their four children worked as a team to support one another through thick and thin, with Phyllis functioning as the glue that held them together no matter what life threw at them.

Michael J. Fox is a prime illustration of an Army wife’s capacity to adapt and persevere in any circumstance. Even though the military pay scale was not exceptionally high, these women could make do and create a stable life for their families with a new job and home while ensuring all of their children had access to good schools.

After reflecting on his injuries this year, he better understands his mother’s strength during those times. He laughs as he recounts how he had broken his hand, shoulder, arm, and elbow in succession and then expresses his gratitude that he is now back on the mend.

Despite being confronted with such immense obstacles throughout 2020, Michael maintains an attitude of optimism fueled by his resilience and perseverance. In addition to coping with his injuries, he has worked tirelessly to aid those with Parkinson’s Disease through The Michael J. Fox Foundation, which he founded in 2000 and has since raised over $1.5 billion in research funding towards finding a cure for this debilitating illness.

Despite every challenge thrown at him last year, Fox has demonstrated incredible strength in adapting and carrying on life’s journey – one that will hopefully see him eventually reclaiming total health. Even today, he continues walking along his road of recovery as he awaits the final healing of his wounds. Life still holds surprises awaiting around each bend that can never be fully predicted or expected.

During difficult times, Michael J. Fox taps into the wisdom he gained while going through a risky spinal cord surgery: to find gratitude in whatever situation he is in and no matter what he does. This perspective opens up the possibility of something unexpected and wonderful happening; an influx of grace in his life.

He experienced this exact shift once again recently after being confronted by adversity. He found himself able to appreciate the small details and moments that make life worth living, things that may have gone unnoticed during his more comfortable days. The actor cherishes this newfound appreciation for all that life has to offer.

Navigating life with a grateful heart enabled Fox to discover happiness and contentment even during distressful times, a remarkable feat considering his surgery’s danger. In 2018, he had to face the risks associated with removing a tumor on his spine, which could have resulted in paralysis or worse. Despite these overwhelming odds, Fox recovered and came out of it stronger than ever.

His resilience serves as an inspiration to others who are struggling. Suppose you can identify one thing to be thankful for. In that case, it can help turn your situation around and bring a much-needed sense of peace and serenity amidst distressful circumstances.