Multiple Sclerosis! You are not alone – famous people with multiple sclerosis!

Tie One on for Multiple Sclerosis
Tie One on for Multiple Sclerosis
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.

37 comments
SherrieGoldberg
SherrieGoldberg

Aaron Solowoniuk, the drummer for Billy Talent. After being diagnosed at 24 he quit his job to be a full time drummer. After he had the first song on their self titled album to allow everyone to know what MS patients experience everyday. He started a charity concert which was called F.U.M.S. and a blog site for those in their younger years suffering with MS. Between that and their anti-bullying campaign I have the utmost respect for him and the band.

Kathy Doiron
Kathy Doiron

If I'm inspired at all by a celebrity, it's Shemar Moore, who plays as large a role as he can in this battle on behalf of his mom: "When you're a kid, your parents are invincible," added Moore. "I always thought of her as my super mom and MS is her kryptonite. She's cracked a little bit, but I always say that she'll never break." Shemar has watched MS steal more and more of the mama who raised him, and is using his celebrity status to fight her enemy. I'm inspired by his dedication to his mama - by the fact that he has never let his celebrity status lessen what he feels for her. Having said that, however, I have to agree with the person who pointed out that celebrities, while not having an easier time with the disease, do have the resources that most of us don't have. I've struggled to find someone to mow my lawn once every ten days or so, with no success. One of my pastors thought he'd found someone to do it, but it turned out not to be the case. I can no longer shovel snow or care for the lawn, so it would be a huge blessing in my life if I could just offer someone enough money to make it desirable for someone else to do those tasks. As a single woman struggling to work full-time with this fatiguing disease, it's frustrating to break down and ask for help, and finding no-one willing or able to help. I'm not implying that celebrities don't struggle as much as the rest of us, but oh, it would be nice to have the financial resources!

stewartlv
stewartlv

Country Music singer Clay Walker who also has MS

tflinn75
tflinn75

Annette Funicello (sp?)...her story is pretty inspiring...especially the way her husband stayed right by her side and cared for her himself right until the very end.

MelanyKimblerFarr
MelanyKimblerFarr

Neil Cavuto - he memorizes his reports for the days that his eyes act up and he can't see the teleprompter. 


BarbaraSkinner
BarbaraSkinner

NASCAR driver Trevor Bayne. DX in Nov 2012. Only 22 at the time. Plans on to continue driving as long as he is able. 

MelanieJohnson2
MelanieJohnson2

People with money.. who can afford proper care and assistance do not inspire me.

I managed all alone, on my own living with RRMS  I am raising 3 kids as a single mother working on a dairy farm to pay my bills and soothe my soul.. and all with little or no Health Care. 

        I am my own inspiration! 

Missy Reed
Missy Reed

@MelanieJohnson2  u inspire me. I was a single mom with 4 kids and worked 3 jobs, but I was not diagnosed until they were grown and had kids of their own. So I could not imagine doing what you do everyday. My hat goes off to u

TijanaEder
TijanaEder

Clive Burr - the first drummer of Iron Maiden. Passed away in march this year :( R.I.P!

jmartella
jmartella

Don't forget Teri Garr or Annette Funicello (sorry for the misspell) on sweet Annette....

michelesgibbs
michelesgibbs

Chris Wrght of the Dallas Mavericks! He was my first inspiration to beat this! He was once in a wheelchair and overcame it and became a pointguard

lkpetzoldt01
lkpetzoldt01

I was diagnosed in June of 03.  I was having a problems with severe headaches.  So they did an MRI an found white spots in the frontal lobe of the brain.  Dr. sat down by my bed an said I believe you have MS..first reaction what "WHAT".  Couldn't believe it. So they did a spinal tap to confirm it in the spinal fluid..and said Yes!  I would like to Thank all my friends an mother for all their support.  They have been amazing an nothing less!  I read the book BlindSided by Richard Cohan.  Very helpful! An Trevis Gleason on facebook has also helped so much with Any Questions!  I find the change of the seasons affect me the most with some joint pain an fatigue.  I have started a Jazzercise Class to give me more cardio, balance an strength, the ladies are wonderful.  I keep in close contact with some girlfriends from High School, Yes even at this age.  They seem to always know the correct things to say..AND mean it! Yes I do have fatigue, joint pain on the right side.  Thank you so much for posting this!  Sincerely, Linda K. Petzoldt

TootseLee
TootseLee

Exene Cervenka - X (the band.)

Chrissy Amphlett R.I.P - The Divinyls

KarenPowell1
KarenPowell1

Although our faith beliefs are different, I have been truly inspired by Ann Romney - this is the information copied from Wikipedia:

Ann Lois Romney (née Davies; born April 16, 1949) is the wife of American businessman and politician Mitt Romney, who was theRepublican nominee in the 2012 U.S. presidential election. From 2003 to 2007 she was First Lady of Massachusetts while her husband served as governor of the state.

She was raised in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and attended the private Kingswood School there, where she dated Mitt Romney. She converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1966. She attended Brigham Young University (BYU), married Mitt Romney in 1969, and in 1975 received a Bachelor of Arts degree in French.

As First Lady of Massachusetts, she served as the governor's liaison for federal faith-based initiatives. She was involved in a number of children's charities, including Operation Kids, and was an active participant in her husband's 2008 presidential run.

Romney was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998 and has credited a mixture of mainstream and alternative treatments with giving her a lifestyle mostly without limitations. In one of those activities, equestrianism, she has consequently received recognition indressage as an adult amateur at the national level and competed professionally in Grand Prix as well. In 2008, she was also diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ, a non-invasive type of breast cancer. She underwent a lumpectomy in December of the same year and has since been cancer-free.

She and husband Mitt have five sons, born between 1970 and 1981, and twenty-two grandchildren.

KarenPowell1
KarenPowell1

Ann Lois Romney (née Davies; born April 16, 1949) is the wife of American businessman and politician Mitt Romney, who was theRepublican nominee in the 2012 U.S. presidential election. From 2003 to 2007 she was First Lady of Massachusetts while her husband served as governor of the state.

She was raised in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and attended the private Kingswood School there, where she dated Mitt Romney. She converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1966. She attended Brigham Young University (BYU), married Mitt Romney in 1969, and in 1975 received a Bachelor of Arts degree in French.

As First Lady of Massachusetts, she served as the governor's liaison for federal faith-based initiatives. She was involved in a number of children's charities, including Operation Kids, and was an active participant in her husband's 2008 presidential run.

Romney was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998 and has credited a mixture of mainstream and alternative treatments with giving her a lifestyle mostly without limitations. In one of those activities, equestrianism, she has consequently received recognition indressage as an adult amateur at the national level and competed professionally in Grand Prix as well. In 2008, she was also diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ, a non-invasive type of breast cancer. She underwent a lumpectomy in December of the same year and has since been cancer-free.

She and husband Mitt have five sons, born between 1970 and 1981, and twenty-two grandchildren.

KatrinaScottSmith
KatrinaScottSmith

@KarenPowell1 I LOVE Ann!  I have so much in common with her, except my husband isn't a wealthy politician and I only have 4 boys. ;)

Delited2b
Delited2b

Also left out is R&B singer Tamia. She is married to NBA all star Grant Hill. Tamia is a awesome advocate.

MrsKarrieT
MrsKarrieT

You left out David Lander (Squiggy), Terri Garr and Clay Walker; in my opinion, these 3 have done more for the disease than any of the above.  All Montel wants to talk about is Marijuana and Jack Osborne is all about the stem cells, which he can afford. 

Joyce Pharis
Joyce Pharis

@InezGilbert @Joyce Pharis @MrsKarrieT   I was told it was thought to be more about location than genes but the ones who think this obviously don't have kids with MS. I asked my neuro how many people in my area (central Illinois) has MS. He said many more than I think.  To me its too much of a coincidence that my daughter would have it too.

Linda Marshall
Linda Marshall

@Joyce Pharis @InezGilbert @MrsKarrieT 

My Daughter was first dx when she was 20 she is doing very well she has not let it get her down she is always in the sun.runs 5 miles a day weather permitting also eats healthy!!  I was dx in 1996 I was born in Pa we both lived in Miami then moved to DE


Joyce Pharis
Joyce Pharis

@MrsKarrieT I did not know these three actors had MS.  i have read a lot about Montel and Jack.  I was dx'd in 2009 at 55 and my daughter in 2010 at 26. that was devastating to learn about my daughter


InezGilbert
InezGilbert

@Joyce Pharis @MrsKarrieT   I wonder how many there are of Mothers with Daughters that have this dreadul disease.  My Daughter was dx 20 some years ago and at that time I felt that I had it as most of my body went numb, I was finaly dx'd 7 yrs ago, my Daughter was 24 and I was 60 when we found out.

KatrinaScottSmith
KatrinaScottSmith

@Joyce Pharis @InezGilbert @MrsKarrieT My maternal grandmother had MS, died in 1947 at age 24 (my mother was only 2).  My older sister had MS, diagnosed at 19, died in 1999 at age 33.  I am 43 and was just diagnosed.  I plan to kick this thing in the REAR! ;)

CrystalArchey
CrystalArchey

Clay Walker-country singer was diagnosed with MS in 1996Annette Funicello- one of the original Mouseketers was diagnosed with MS in 1992, and passed away in April, 2013 due to complications with her MS