Life with Multiple Sclerosis comes with a unique set of challenges, as it is the case with diseases that attack the central nervous system. As we have explained here in Joe Cosgrove’s Blog before, Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune disease which means that it is the body’s own immune system that attacks the brain, the spinal cord and optic nerves in most cases. The attack is directed specifically towards myelin, the membrane that coats and protects nerve fibers, and thus it causes stimuli to misfire and connections between nerve endings to be distorted. The damage promotes scar tissue to form, and hence the name sclerosis. Symptoms vary and while the disease is not in itself fatal, it does pose some challenges to the quality of life of patients and it requires some adjustment.
In today’s article, we want to talk about some famous people who have battled the disease during their lifetime but are still considered quite successful and have learned to live with it. Some of them have very powerful insight and are a source of admiration to those who have been diagnosed.
This American singer and actress is very famous for her role as Meadow Soprano, the daughter of the infamous mob boss for the successful HBO series. In the last episode of the show, we can actually see her run to meet her family and she remembers this experience as the last time she was able to do so. She currently takes medication daily and manages her MS with ease. Even though she was diagnosed at the age of 20, she has gotten married, has a child and is currently expecting another one.
Richard M. Cohen is an award-winning American journalist and senior producer for CBS News and CNN, who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at the age of 25. Like many inspiring people who suffer from the disease, he states that MS doesn’t define who he is and that with the help of his wife and loved one he has never allowed the condition to dictate what he can or cannot do in life.
Son of heavy metal legend Ozzy Osbourne, Jack became notorious after starring along his family in the reality TV series The Osbournes back in the early 2000s. Since then he has become a traveling journalist and reporter for History Channel and BBC. He found out he had MS because he lost vision on his right and then had to deal with other symptoms like numbness and stomach problems. His approach towards combating the disease includes many lifestyle changes to minimize stress and consuming a better diet for his body. He is very outspoken about his condition and supports research and development for new treatment.
This American television personality was the host of the Montel Williams Show and came out publicly about his diagnosis in 1999. He talks about how the news was shocking at first and he truly believed it was something like a death sentence. Just a year later he used that trepidation to start a foundation that while it is no longer operational, it did raise more than $1.5 million in grants for research. He also famously advocates for research and legalization of medical marihuana as he has experienced with such treatment himself to ease the pain.
Alan and David Osmond
These father and son team are members of the band The Osmonds, an American singing group that started in the 70’s and continues today with a varied repertoire. Alan the father was diagnosed in the 80’s after he began tripping constantly in stage for no apparent reason. His attitude was that of someone who doesn’t accept that a condition will stop him from doing what he loves and so he found a way to live with the disease. 20 years later his son David was also diagnosed and he didn’t stop singing either. As a matter of fact, he even launched a song called “I Can Do This” that was used to raise funds and awareness for multiple sclerosis research.
This American NASCAR driver was the former winner of the Daytona 500 and was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis a few years ago. He was just 22 years old at the time of his diagnosis but once again tenacity and discipline show that you can do anything if you set your mind to it. He did not give up doing what he loves and has continued competing since then. He has reportedly said that he continues to be in great shape and that the symptoms are not present in a way that can impair him from what he is doing. It is important to notices that even someone who has a job that requires so much physically and mentally is still able to continue enjoying his occupation, even after being diagnosed.