Michael J. Fox is Awesome
Michael J. Fox will always hold a special place in my heart because:
1) I love the "Back to the Future" Trilogy
2) He's Canadian
3) For a person living with a debilitating nerve disease (Parkinson's), he's got the best attitude of just about anyone I can think of. It doesn't seem like anything gets him down (although I'm sure, like all of us, he has his days).
The interview I saw focused mainly on the role that the Michael J. Fox Foundation plays in finding a cure for Parkinson's disease. Fox sees himself as a "disruptive philanthropist" - he gives money to researchers, but he requires them to report yearly about their progress. This model of funding is apparently quite different from most, and Fox does it because it forces researchers to keep in mind that there are people at the end of the line waiting for the results of this research.
He used the word "patient-centred" in the interview, and I actually laughed out loud. Patient-centred! What an idea! What a revolutionary concept, to design anything that is supposed to help people - supports, planning processes, research - *around* the people that these things are supposed to help!
Designing anything according to person-centred philosophy is more work. It requires more listening, more patience, and often more creativity to assist people to meet their goals. It can be sometimes be infinitely frustrating. But it's also infinitely important. It's a way of showing people respect and of saying to them that their goals and dreams are worthy of being taken seriously. It's easy to let person-centred methodologies fall by the wayside as staffing levels get cut...but it's because staffing levels are getting cut that person-centred planning, and creative, community-based ways of assisting people with disabilities to meet their goals becomes even more important.
But back to Michael J. Fox.
He's Just Awesome
I'm more and more impressed by this man every time I see him interviewed. Anyone living with any sort of illness or disability can take a lesson from him about taking what life gives you and just...running with it. And about how sometimes being disruptive isn't always a bad thing. :)
Check out the interview here, including footage of Michael J. Fox's recent performance of "Johnny B. Goode":