Michael J. Fox has lived in the spotlight for decades, and most recently as the poster boy for Parkinson disease.

Fox was the headliner of celebrity speakers at the Atlantic Dream Festival Wednesday in Halifax.

Thousands paid to hear his message, including fan Tara McBurney.

“I'm really excited to see Michael J. Fox,” says McBurney. “He's a great rep for Canada and it's great to see all the things he's done for Parkinson’s.”

The Canadian actor and activist has long been an inspiration to many.

“We're about helping people achieve their dreams,” says Dianne Kelderman of the Nova Scotia Co-Operative Council. “Michael J. Fox is really about achieving a dream under incredible challenges. We thought it was a perfect fit for us.”

Many North Americans grew up watching Fox on television, where he starred as Alex Keaton on the hit show “Family Ties.” He also dominated the big screen for a time with roles such as Marty McFly in “Back to the Future.”

Now, the star is dedicated in his role as the founder and champion of the Michael J. Fox Foundation, while still managing to break barriers in Hollywood on shows such as “The Good Wife.”

Today, he shared stories about his dreams, and dreams rearranged.

“I know about loss, about life rearranged and the chaos of fate,” says Fox.

Spectators say Fox not only left a lasting impression, but imprinted a powerful message.

“Never give up,” says McBurney. “Sometimes you're given lemons and you make lemonade. Never let it get you down.”

“He's so inspirational,” says audience member Gail Godreau. “I love his message he wants to share, in that he doesn't allow something that's a difficulty to get in his way.”

With files from CTV Atlantic's Felicia Yap