When I was first dxed I read an article about Teri Garr and I found her to be inspiring. She didn't BS. She told you that having MS sucked but that it wasn't going to stop her from living. She eased some of my fears of what life with MS might hold. I wish I had known she was gonna be in town last weekend because I would've loved to have met her.
The role of her lifetime: Teri Garr raises money, awareness for MS
By Marco Santana | Daily Herald Staff
When actress Teri Garr felt a weakness on her right side in the 1980s, she had trouble finding a doctor who knew what was wrong with her. One doctor even wanted to perform surgery on her back, which Garr knew was not the issue.
Instead, on the advice of her brother, she visited a neurologist and received an MRI. The results were not good. Scarring on her brain showed that she had multiple sclerosis, a debilitating disease of the central nervous system.
More than 20 years later, Garr has become a face for the disease, having been named in 2004 as the chairwoman of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society's Women Against MS program and frequently promoting awareness.
"When you get a bad diagnosis, you can jump off a bridge or you can face it," Garr said Sunday during a fundraising event at the Hollywood Palms movie theater in Naperville. "I'm going ahead with my life."
Garr conducted a meet-and-greet at the theater to raise money for multiple sclerosis research. She was also there to introduce the theater's showing of "Young Frankenstein," the 1974 Mel Brooks feature that became one of Garr's first breakout films. All proceeds from the event will be donated to the Greater Illinois chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
"All I care about is someone is fixing it and figuring out how to get rid of it," Garr said.
Research has made several recent advances. There are now six treatments available for the disease and an oral therapy appears to be on the horizon, said Terri Connor Brankin, the Illinois chapter's vice president of strategic relationships.
"There has never been a more hopeful time to have MS or be diagnosed with MS," (one of our favorite phrases) she said "Many other exciting breakthroughs are happening worldwide in laboratories."
With Teri Garr slated to attend the premiere of the showing, theater owner Ted Bulthaup contacted the Illinois chapter to set up the event.
With donations down during this poor economic year, Brankin said she appreciated and was very grateful for the chance to raise money. "It's been challenging for everyone," she said. "Every fundraising opportunity is something we aggressively seek."
As for Garr, her sense of humor remains relatively unchanged. But along with it, she now makes sure to send a message to those who have now joined the list of MS patients.
"I was very happy I even had a brain," she said of her initial MRI. "Living with MS, it's just the same as just living, only a little bit harder. Don't be scared and go on with your life."