Connect with others who understand.

sign up log in
About MyParkinsonsTeam

What Alan Alda's Parkinson's Diagnosis Does for the Rest of Us

Posted on April 19, 2019

When Alan Alda, star of "M*A*S*H" and "The West Wing," revealed he had Parkinson's disease, he said he wanted to "reassure people" diagnosed with the movement disorder that it's still possible to do things. His words created a wave of empathy and validation that washed over the Parkinson's community. “Wow. Even him, too?”

Three things happen for us when a celebrity opens up about a diagnosis and shares the fact of their chronic illness with us.


First, they help to destigmatize the disease. The condition becomes more visible and relatable. Suddenly, we see our friends and family changing their attitudes toward our condition, and even toward us.

Second, we feel more hopeful and inspired in our own life. Knowing that a celebrity is facing the same day-to-day struggles we do, all while under the glare of stardom, we are more endeared toward them. We especially feel a connection when they use their voice to bring visibility to Parkinson's disease.

Finally, we feel empowered by the will of celebrities to step forward and take control of the narrative about their condition under intense media scrutiny. When they show the world what it means to live with Parkinson's, they offer a roadmap and inspire confidence for how we might do the same.

Whether famous or not, the public acknowledgment of one’s disease is a brave act in the face of the stigma of chronic disease. As Parkinson's disease awareness spreads, acceptance soon follows.

Is there a notable person who has inspired you? How do you feel about celebrities discussing their condition? Share in the comments below or post on MyParkinsonsTeam.

A MyParkinsonsTeam Member said:

Hi Rose,
I have had PD for about 14 years and I up until this year had been great and my life was almost normal, now for about a month or so I have been… read more

posted 4 months ago

hug (4)

Recent articles

Mht myparkinsonsteam article carousel managing parkinsons disease motor fluctuations
Article written by Mary K. Talbot Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that sends signals between nerve...

Managing Parkinson's Disease Motor Fluctuations

Article written by Mary K. Talbot Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that sends signals between nerve...
Mht myparkinsonsteam article carousel tips and lifestyle changes
Article written by Kelly Crumrin Most people who begin Levodopa treatment for Parkinson’s can get...

Tips and Lifestyle Changes to Improve "Off" Time in Parkinson's

Article written by Kelly Crumrin Most people who begin Levodopa treatment for Parkinson’s can get...
Mht myparkinsonsteam carousel what is dyskinesia like
Article written by Laurie Berger If you’re experiencing dyskinesia — jerky, involuntary movements...

What Is Dyskinesia Like?

Article written by Laurie Berger If you’re experiencing dyskinesia — jerky, involuntary movements...
Mht ad treatments thumb
Article written by Kelly Crumrin Parkinson’s disease is a movement disorder that causes motor...

Treatments for Parkinson’s and Parkinsonism

Article written by Kelly Crumrin Parkinson’s disease is a movement disorder that causes motor...
Coronavirus
Article written by Kelly Crumrin According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention...

Canceling Is Kindness: Keeping Safe From COVID-19 With Parkinson's

Article written by Kelly Crumrin According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention...
Mht ad thepathtodiagnosis2 thumb
Article written by Kelly Crumrin The path to a diagnosis of Parkinson’s can be a long and...

Parkinson’s – The Path to Diagnosis

Article written by Kelly Crumrin The path to a diagnosis of Parkinson’s can be a long and...
Mht ad cause thumb
Article written by Kelly Crumrin The cause of most cases of Parkinson’s disease is unknown. While...

What Causes Parkinson’s?

Article written by Kelly Crumrin The cause of most cases of Parkinson’s disease is unknown. While...
Mht ad types thumb
Article written by Kelly Crumrin Parkinsonism is a syndrome, or collection of symptoms,...

Types of Parkinson’s

Article written by Kelly Crumrin Parkinsonism is a syndrome, or collection of symptoms,...
Mht ad sideeffectsandparkinsons thumb
Article written by Kelly Crumrin On MyParkinsonsTeam, the social network and online support group...

Side Effects and Parkinson's

Article written by Kelly Crumrin On MyParkinsonsTeam, the social network and online support group...
Mht ad symptoms thumb
Article written by Kelly Crumrin Parkinson’s disease mainly affects the central nervous system...

Symptoms of Parkinson’s

Article written by Kelly Crumrin Parkinson’s disease mainly affects the central nervous system...
MyParkinsonsTeam My Parkinson's disease Team

Two Ways to Get Started with MyParkinsonsTeam

Become a Member

Connect with others who are living with Parkinson's disease. Get members only access to emotional support, advice, treatment insights, and more.

sign up

Become a Subscriber

Get the latest articles about Parkinson's disease sent to your inbox.

Not now, thanks

Privacy policy
MyParkinsonsTeam My Parkinson's disease Team

Thank you for signing up.

close