Since Teri Garr was mentioned in your discussion, I thought I'd post this article about her speaking at an MS in Balance event on Saturday. To me she is inspirational because she is able to maintain a positive outlook despite MS. It helps when I'm down to realize that some people are living relatively "normal" lives years after their symptoms began. Hope I'm that lucky.
Actress Garr to speak about MS on Saturday
The Arizona Republic
Jun. 2, 2006 12:00 AM
SCOTTSDALE - Actress Teri Garr said you can call her Teri.
"Or 'Your Highness,' " joked the Academy Award-nominated star of Tootsie, Mr. Mom and Dumb and Dumber.
Garr will appear Saturday at "MS in Balance," a free educational event in Scottsdale for people with multiple sclerosis, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and affects 400,000 Americans. advertisement
The event is loosely tied in with this week's annual meeting of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers at the Westin Kierland Resort.
Garr, who in 1999 was diagnosed with the chronic disease, advocates for those who have it and appears publicly to urge them to manage their health.
She has written Speedbumps: Flooring It Through Hollywood, a memoir about her challenges, including MS.
She brings a lightness to the topic that a darkly dramatic talent such as, say, Bette Davis, might have lacked.
Garr prefers to call MS "ticklety-bumpty-boom," because it often begins with a ticklish tingle that graduates into a person bumping into things and falling down.
"My audiences and I laugh at the same stuff," she said, noting that non-sufferers often have a more morbid sense of the affliction.
"I want to put a face on it and say: I have MS, and I'm OK. People think you're in a wheelchair and drooling. It's not true," Garr said.
On Saturday, she'll talk about living with the disease, which for her started with a transitory tingling on the right side unaccompanied by more obvious symptoms such as eye problems or loss of muscle control.
Garr, who lives in Los Angeles, went to doctors all over the country for years trying to be diagnosed.
"It was very elusive," she said. "It wasn't debilitating and didn't stop me from doing anything."
Although she pressed for a diagnosis, she suspects that for a long time doctors hesitated to tell her what she had, for lack of available treatments.
New products have been made from interferons, proteins that slow the disease. Garr uses one of them, Rebif, whose manufacturer sponsors her appearances. She gives herself a shot three times a week to stop lesions from forming on nerve tissue.
A former dancer and athlete, Garr has three tips for people with MS: Don't freak out, get on a medicine, and keep exercising.
She might have added: Keep doing what you are doing. Garr, the mother of 12-year-old Molly, has two movies due for release, Unaccompanied Minor and another co-starring Lisa Kudrow.
Garr, who says she was born "in the latter half of the 20th century," claimed her age has been a bigger career handicap than her disease.
"Actresses turn 40, and they throw them away. It's not fair," she said.