Multiple sclerosis, commonly known by its acronym MS, is a disease of the central nervous system, first described by Jean Martin Charcot in 1868. In this disease, the insulating fatty material called myelin, which covers certain brain cells, nerves and spinal cord, is damaged, and the relevant cells or nerves are exposed. The damage occurs gradually and plaques or lesions are formed in the affected area. On account of the loss of myelin, the communication through nerves is interfered and this causes loss of coordination, muscle loss and weakness, and disturbance in speech and vision. The disease usually occurs in young adults and more often in women than in men. European populations are more susceptible to this disease, whereas some ethnic groups are at low risk, including the Turkmen, Samis, Hutterites of Canada, Africans and the New Zealand Maori.
1. Ann Romney
Ann Lois Romney, better known as Ann Romney, was born to Edward Roderick Davies and Lois Davies on April 16, 1949 in Detroit, Michigan, U.S. She was raised in Bloomsfield Hills, Michigan and attended Kingswood School there. She graduated from Brigham Young University. She is the wife of Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee in the 2012 U.S. Presidential Elections. She was the first Lady of Massachusetts when Romney was the Governor of the state. She has five sons and twenty grandchildren. She experienced severe numbness and fatigue in 1997, and just a day before Thanksgiving in 1998 she was diagnosed for multiple sclerosis. She leads an active life involving in an array of charities and activities like horse riding. She said that horse riding “saved my life… Riding exhilarated me; it gave me a joy and a purpose’¦My desire to ride was, and is, so strong that I kept getting healthier and healthier.’ She actively supported her husband during the presidential election campaign. She has also competed in the Grand Prix at national level.
2. Fraser C. Robinson III
Fraser C. Robinson III was born to Fraser Robinson and La Vaughn Delores Johnson on August 1, 1935 in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, United States, and died on March 6, 1991 in Chicago. He is the father of the First Lady Michelle Obama, who is the wife of the 44th and current President of the United States of America. Michelle Obama said about her father, ‘My father had multiple sclerosis. I never knew him to be able to walk, but my dad worked so hard and he loved us so much, and I think from him I learned just absolute, complete unconditional love, the notion that kids really don’t need anything but to know that their parents adore them.’ She recalled how she used to see him ‘grab his walker, prop himself against the sink and slowly shave and button his uniform. When he came home, he’d reach down to lift one leg after another to make it up the stairs and greet his kids.’
3. Montel Williams
Montel Brian Anthony Williams, better known as Montel Williams, was born on July 3, 1956 in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S. His father Herman Williams Jr. was Baltimore’s first African American Fire Chief in 1952. Montel received his early education at Andover High School in Linthicum, Maryland. He also studied at the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. He is best known as a television personality, especially for hosting The Montel Williams Show. In 1999, he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. He is actively involved with the non-profit MS Foundation, which he founded after he was diagnosed with MS.
4. Fleur Agema
Marie-Fleur Agema was born on September 16, 1976 in Purmerend, Netherlands. She received her B. Arch. from a vocational university in Enschede. She received her M.Arch.degree from a vocational university in Amsterdam and another M.Arch from a vocational university in Utrecht. She worked as a spatial designer from 1995 to 1999. Since November 30, 2006 she has been an active member of the Party for Freedom. She announced in December 2012 that she had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
5. Jack Joseph Osbourne
Jack Joseph Osbourne was born in London but moved with his family from London to California at the age of six. He is a renowned English media personality, best known for starring in MTV’s reality series The Osbournes, from 2003 to 2005. Although Osbourne said that he had a happy and contented childhood, his teenage years were quite disturbed. He started drinking and smoking marijuana at the age of only fourteen years. He once tried to commit suicide. He had been experiencing many symptoms of multiple sclerosis for many years, including partial blindness, numbness in his leg, and problems with his bladder and stomach. He announced in 2012 that he had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
6. Richard Pryor
Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor, commonly known as Richard Pryor, was a famous stand-up comedian, actor, and writer. He was born to Gertrude L. and Le Roy Pryor on December 1, 1940 in Peoria, Illinois, United States. He died on December 10, 2005 at the age of 65 years, in Encino, California, United States. Due to his colorful profanities and racial epithets, he became popular in a wide range of audience. Jerry Seinfeld, one of the greatest comedians of all time, said of Pryor that he was ‘The Picasso of our profession’. His honors include an Emmy award, five Grammy Awards, and the Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Pryor was diagnosed with MS in 1986 and it had a drastically debilitating affect upon him.
7. Teri Garr
Terry Ann Garr, more often known as Teri Garr, was born to Eddie Garr and Phyllis Lind on December 11, 1944. She debuted in 1963 in A Swingin’ Affair as an extra. She became famous in 1974 after her performance in the Mel Brooks comedy Young Frankenstein. Her popular films include, The Black Stallion, One From The Heart, Mr.Mom, and Oh, God. She was nominated for an Academy Award in 1982 for her performance in Tootsie. She announced in October 2002 that she had been suffering from MS and said ‘I’m telling my story for the first time so I can help people. I can help people know they aren’t alone and tell them there are reasons to be optimistic because, today, treatment options are available.’ Garr is a National Ambassador for National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
8. Augustus d’Este
Sir Augustus Frederick d’Este was born to Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex, and Lady Augusta Murray on January 13, 1794 in London, Great Britain. He died on December 28, 1848 at the age of 54 years, in Ramsgate, Kent. He was the grandson of King George III. Augustus d’Este was the first case of multiple sclerosis in the recorded history. Although his disease was not diagnosed in his life time, it was confirmed by medical professionals after they went through his personal diary. At the age of 28 years he experienced visual loss, weakness in legs, numbness, and bladder problems. He started using a wheelchair in 1844 and was confined to bed in the last years of his life.
9. Barbara Jordan
Barbara Charline Jordan was born to Benjamin Jordan and Arlyne Jordan on February 21, 1936 in Houston, Texas and died in Austin, Texas on January 17, 1996 at the age of 59 years. She was a leader of the Civil Rights movement. She was the first African American elected to the Texas Senate. She was inducted to the National Women’s Hall of Fame. She was the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. President Clinton wanted to nominate her for the United States Supreme Court but her health did not permit it. She experienced difficulty in climbing stars and it was a symptom of the oncoming disease. She was diagnosed with MS in 1973.
10. Clive Burr
Clive Burr was born on March 8, 1957 in East Ham, London and died there on March 12, 2013. He was a famous British drummer of the well known metal band, Iron Maiden. He was diagnosed with MS and the disease caused him financial difficulties. The Iron Maiden staged many charity shows for the Clive Burr MS Trust Fund. In 2004, Clive Burr founded a charity; named Clive Aid. Burr was its patron. Burr was constrained to the use of a wheelchair.
Whether they are suffering or not suffering from MS, all humans are destined to die. All the components of the person, body, mind and souls are rarely damaged simultaneously. Damage to the brain does not necessarily imply the damage to the mind and soul as well. Instead of focusing on what one has lost, it is imperative in such cases to be grateful for what still remains, and this is simply another interpretation of hope.