3 Female Celebrities Help with Multiple Sclerosis Research
Several female celebrities have embraced multiple sclerosis as a cause, each for her own reasons. Here’s a look at what three different well-known women have done to help advance knowledge, research, and treatment of multiple sclerosis.
J.K. Rowling, best known as the author of the Harry Potter series of books, donated 10 million pounds (more than $10.5 million in today’s market) to establish the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic in 2010. The facility focuses on patient-based clinical research to help discover treatments for neurodegenerative diseases, such as MS. The clinic is named for Ms. Rowling’s mother, who died from multiple sclerosis at the age of 45.
The clinic is located at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh next to the University of Edinburgh’s medical school. It provides outpatient care for individuals with neurological conditions such as MS as well as conducts laboratory and clinical research. Ms. Rowling stated that “I cannot think of anything more important, or of more lasting value than to help the university attract world-class minds in the field of neuroregeneration.”
Baby boomers will remember Annette Funicello from the Mickey Mouse Club and a series of Beach Party movies during the 1960s. Ms. Funicello announced her battle with multiple sclerosis in 1992 and one year later established the Annette Funicello Research Fund for Neurological Diseases. Funicello died on April 8, 2013, of complications associated with MS.
This nonprofit foundation supports clinical studies that focus on exposing the causes of multiple sclerosis and treatments that illustrate the potential to reverse the symptoms of MS and other neurological diseases. The fund’s website states there is no paid staff, which keeps costs very low and ensures that nearly all the donated monies are used for research only, as per Funicello’s request.
Ann Romney, wife of 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney, has been battling MS since her diagnosis in 1998. She founded the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and its mission is to find treatments and cures for MS and four other neurologic conditions: Alzheimer’s, brain tumors, ALS, and Parkinson’s.
Romney also recently released a new memoir entitled “In This Together: My Story,” in which she shares her experiences with the disease. Her initial symptoms at diagnosis included dizziness and mental fogginess. Currently, Romney is in remission.
Her treatment journal took her on two paths: Western medicine, which she said left he feeling weak and tired; and alternative means, including horseback riding and reflexology. During a recent CBS This Morning interview, Romney explained the importance of family in her fight with MS, noting that “We’re in this together and we’re much stronger when we’re together, and the family has always been a huge piece.”
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