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Michael J. Fox leaves the wheelchair in a surprise appearance at the BAFTAs


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The room was packed with celebrities, but the presence of one in particular brought the BAFTA audience to their feet in awe.

Michael J. Fox surprised attendees at the London event Sunday night when he appeared on stage to present the best picture award, which went to Christopher Nolan's “Oppenheimer.”

After being introduced by host David Tennant as a “true movie legend,” the “Back to the Future” actor took the podium in a wheelchair, but then stood up, leading A-list celebrities like Ryan Gosling , Margot Robbie and Robert. Downey Jr. stood up to cheer.

“No matter who you are or where you're from, movies can bring us together,” Fox said before announcing the nominees. “There's a reason they say movies are magical: because movies can change your day, they can change your perspective, and sometimes they can even change your life.”

SEE MORE: Christina Applegate cries as Emmy crowd cheers her

The 62-year-old, who Tennant said was “the movie star of the 1980s”, has been living with Parkinson's disease since he was 29, and his journey with it was chronicled in the Apple film TV+ “Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie,” which lost the BAFTA for best documentary to “20 Days in Mariupol” on Sunday.

Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that causes involuntary or uncontrollable movements such as tremors, rigidity, and difficulty coordinating, according to the National Institute on Aging. Symptoms usually worsen over time and can cause mental and behavioral changes, memory difficulties, depression, and more.

Fox has shared how these symptoms have changed her life and career in interviews, in her 2020 book “No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality” and in “Still,” particularly how she struggled with depression and denial while hiding her struggles for seven years after her diagnosis.

In those years, Fox has said he turned to dopamine pills to hide his symptoms and alcohol to hide his fears. He eventually sought help and later created the Michael J. Fox Foundation in 2000. Since then, his charity has raised about $2 billion to fund research to cure Parkinson's disease.

The five-time Emmy Award winner retired from acting in 2020 due to increasingly severe symptoms, including numerous injuries from falls and difficulties learning lines. But she has remained positive in recent years and she told Variety last year that she found acceptance despite her struggles.

“I recognize how difficult this is for people and I recognize how difficult it is for me,” he told the publication. “But I have a certain set of skills that allow me to deal with these things. And I realized, with gratitude, that optimism is sustainable. And if you can find something to be grateful for, then you can find something to look forward to, and you continue “


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