I discovered yesterday, somewhat to my surprise, that I have been blogging about healthcare related issues since 2006. And then, as today, one of my main areas of focus was multiple sclerosis and providing support for PwMS.
One thing I noticed during those early days (and it is trend that is still with us) was discussion about celebrities who have lived or are living with multiple sclerosis. I always suspected that this was due, in part, to the curious status of MS being a minority condition when compared with, say, diabetes but still with a substantial prevalence. It has been suggested that there are nearly 2.5 million people across the globe who suffer from multiple sclerosis. If we take into account family and supporting friends then the MS community is pretty substantial.
But that does not stop many with multiple sclerosis feeling more than a bit of isolated. This causes a wholly natural interest in other people with MS. Both in our local communities but also in celebrities worldwide.
The purpose of this blog to share a few of the famous people who have or have had multiple sclerosis who I feel have made a contribution to the MS community in some way. This can be directly or indirectly, of course. Second is to ask you to contribute your suggestions of celebrities who have helped the multiple sclerosis awareness cause. So here are my top five.
a) Montel Williams. The famous American talk show host was diagnosed with MS in 1999. Since then he has pioneered social media as a way of getting the MS message out. In 2000 he founded the MS Foundation which promotes awareness and research. You can check out his web site for more information http://www.livingwellwithmontel.com/Home.aspx./
b) Jacqueline du Pré. The world famous cellist died at the age of 42 in 1987. She was diagnosed with MS in 1973; a couple of years after the first symptoms appeared. Important not just for her musical work but because her struggle with MS helped to raise the profile of the condition with the British public.
c) Richard Pryor. The break through US comedian who almost single handily invented the new generation of stand-up humour in the seventies and who died in 2005. Importantly he used his web site to talk about the condition and thus raised awareness.
d) Jack Osbourne, an English media personality, was diagnosed with MS last year (2012) in his mid-twenties. A user of stem cell therapy (http://patienttalk.org/?p=1058) his performances on Dancing with the Stars have inspired a new generation.
e) Heinrich Heine (1797-1856) was a famous German romantic poet. In truth the MS diagnosis is not certain but he is included in my list to show that MS is nothing new. To get a feel for his poetry, albeit in English translation, please have a look at http://www.poetry-archive.com/h/heine_heinrich.html.
So who has inspired you? Please feel free to use the comments box below to share, who in your view, has help the multiple sclerosis community and why.
Thanks very much in advance.