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Lucky Man, Lucky Me

October 1, 2009

Lucky Man

Lucky Man

Cynthia Battles is a 1979 graduate of Mount Saint Joseph Academy in Rutland, Vermont where she won the school’s English Award. She received a B.S. in Communications from the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communications in 1983 and an M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in 1986.  She is a freelance writer based in Rutland and has written for numerous Vermont newspapers and magazines. 

Whatever your dream, the first step always stems from change.

It might be as difficult as radically rethinking ideals. Or as simple as re-examining the language you use to describe yourself. Fox’s first memoir, an apt example of both: not Parkinson’s Victim, not Fallen Hollywood Star… but Lucky Man? Yes, lucky. And, in the face of an incurable disease, he’s altered our misconceptions of illness, serving as much more than People Magazine fodder. From testifying before the Senate to creating the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, Fox’s efforts have elevated a previously under-the-radar disease to the Washington-worthy attention it deserves.

The result, for me at least, has been that between Always Looking Up and Lucky Man, my first reaction to Fox’s story was, naturally, sympathy; the daily, hastily-popped pharmaceuticals, the squeeze of his young son’s hand — anything to try and mask those persistent shakes (having a left hand tremor myself, I’m no stranger to shoving it in my pocket in order to avoid awkward questions or requests to “calm down”).

Unexpected, however, was how my sympathy quickly turned to admiration. Fox’s decision to inspire conversation focused on his disease as opposed to continuing to hide it is the kind of different dream many of us aspire to: to be who we are.

Most surprisingly was the realization that Fox’s ability to not only dare to dream different but to also achieve different became his gift, his fortune — one might even say his luck. And, consequently, my hero.

Cindy

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Lynn permalink
    October 2, 2009 3:17 pm

    Tremendous blog, Cindy (so used to typing Claire!).

    The concept of gratitude is so important to me. No matter how challenged one is, there is consistently something to appreciate and learn from in any situation. In any path. Thank you for reminding us of that, and bringing a dash of hope and inspiration via Michael J. Fox’s story.

    It adds dignity to the entire process to admire him, rather than extend sympathy or pity. And in the end, isn’t that how we all want to be treated?

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