The story of Julie Mertus was new to The Michael J. Fox Foundation until late last month. On October 31 she published an op-ed in The Baltimore Sun that got our attention. Julie is a professor and co-director of the master’s program in Ethics, Peace and Global Affairs at American University in Washington, DC. She was diagnosed with Parkinson's shortly after Michael J. Fox and has lived with it almost all of her adult life.
America needs a new kind of hero, not a well sculptured hunk trying to impress us with his awesome physique or some newly minted techno-geek. We don't need anything strange or fancy. We just need an ordinary hero.
I nominate Michael J. Fox.
He's not too big and not too small. He is non-threatening and kind hearted. He is your neighbor, who makes a point to have a few extra "get well" cards that he could deliver when someone is sick, and he has candy that kids really like for Halloween. He is attractive, but he is not the kind of guy who is afraid to get his boots wet. He is funny, but not funny in a way that puts anyone down, and has recently returned to television with a new comedy series: "The Michael J. Fox Show."
What makes him a hero, though, is his commitment to standing up to a very not-funny condition: Parkinson's disease.
Thanks for letting us share, Julie!