Alan Alda said he announced he has Parkinson’s disease because he hopes it inspires others to get tested. The M*A*S*H star said he first started exhibiting symptoms three years ago and decided to get tested.
“I’ve had a full life since then,” Alda told CBS News. “I’ve acted, I’ve given talks, I help at the Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook. I started this new podcast. And I noticed that – I had been on television a lot in the last couple of weeks talking about the new podcast – and I could see my thumb twitch in some shots and I thought, it’s probably only a matter of time before somebody does a story about this from a sad point of view, but that’s not where I am.”
So, Alda, who starred as Hawkeye on M*A*S*H as well as dozens of other roles, decided to take hold of the narrative and tell his fans in a series of tweets. He also wanted to show people that it doesn’t mean you have to give up on life.
“I decided to let people know I have Parkinson’s to encourage others to take action — I was Diagnosed 3 and a half years ago, but my life is full. I act, I give talks, I do my podcast, which I love. If you get a diagnosis, keep moving!
“I take boxing lessons 3 days a week, play singles tennis twice a week, and take a mild pill – all Dr. recommended. I even juggle a little. And I’m not entering dementia. I’m no more demented than I was before. Maybe I should rephrase that. Really, I’m good.”
Alan Alda Wants to Inspire, Not to Burden
Alan Alda started a podcast called “Clear + Vivid.” The point is to explain the difficulties and joys in connecting with people. The point, he explains, is to have open and honest conversations about our similarities and our differences.
The M*A*S*H star told CBS that he’ll continue to do his work and follow doctor’s orders. And he plans to discuss what he’s going through as he hopes it motivates others to get tested. But most of all, he isn’t going to worry.
“I’m not going to worry. While I’m trying to say something else, I’m not going to be thinking, is my thumb on a life of its own. You know, that’s just one of the realities of my life. But I’ve acted in movies since – it’s three-and-a-half years since I had the diagnosis and it hasn’t stopped my life at all. I’ve had a richer life than I’ve had up until now.”