I’m all over the place this month. Thank you for bearing with me. I’ll regain my focus probably never.
March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month. It is a disease that is attacking amazing people and changing the way they live their lives, people like the adorable Annette Funicello (“Beach Blanket Bingo” among many other movies), David Lander (“Squiggy” from “Laverne and Shirley”) , and my amazing mother.
MS attacks cells in someone’s immune system that support the nerves abilities to communicate with each other. Myelin, the sheath around the nerves, is attacked instead of foreign infections. Symptoms range from mild (numbness in the limbs) to severe (paralysis or blindness).
In one way it’s a challenging disease that links amazing people together.
It’s a challenging disease to live with. You ask your body to do something, it knows what you’re asking it to do, but can’t quite get the message across. Athletes who know their bodies suddenly are strangers to their limbs. Actors, like “Squiggy”, hid it. When he felt a convulsion coming on, he’d make it into a prat fall. He made himself into an even more physical comic, oh he’s just being funny. He was terrified he’d never work again if people found out what he had.
Annette was known for being adorable (talented, but adorable). I don’t know the full story, but someone was trying to put together a reunion that involved Annette. It was coming close to the date and they hadn’t heard from her. They visited her house and her husband told them it was his decision to not let her do the reunion. He wasn’t being a beast, he was being a protector. MS ravaged her body. She’s still stunning, but he was afraid people would hurt her. She did make public appearances to battle rumors her impaired mobility was due to alcoholism. People with MS have to endure that insensitivity. MS can mess with your balance, your walk, your talk, facial muscles….
When I finally get around to publishing (or making money in general) I’m going to donate to MS research and pursue finding a cure. Until then, please enjoy this new website I found to help promote awareness:
Before she passed, Annette also opened a research fund. You can find more information about it here: http://annetteconnection.com/index.php