Meeting Author Richard Cohen and Discussing Our MS

Gina Gunkel Health Guide
  • This week I had the pleasure of meeting Richard Cohen, author of Blindsided: Lifting a Life Above Illness: A Reluctant Memoir.  He is also the husband of  Today Show co-host, Meredith Viera.  I was at a sporting event with my family.  As I entered the arena, I exclaimed, “Oh my, there’s Richard!”  My children wanted to know which athlete I was talking about.  I told them that it wasn’t an athlete, but that guy with the cane.  They immediately lost interest.  I, however, went over and introduced myself. Richard’s had MS for over 30 years, and he did something very interesting that got me thinking. 

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    He was very courteous and I had a chance to meet his son.  So, this is the interesting part… when I told him that I, too, had MS, he glanced down at my legs. It was so quick, that someone without MS wouldn’t have noticed.  I’m just hyper aware of that reaction because of my past.

    Years and years ago, I gave a speech prior to an MS Bike Tour starting at the World Trade Center.  My Dad and I were about to do the ride and he videotaped my speech.  Also giving encouraging words was weatherman, Sam Champion.  His athletic trainer had been recently diagnosed and he was showing his support for her.  Before the race began, I privately told him my MS experiences.  Later, seen on the video that my Dad filmed, was Sam looking at me up and down as I took the podium.  There was much joking from family and friends after seeing that footage.  Sam became playfully known as my “boyfriend”. 

    It finally hit me when I met a fellow MS person and casually glanced down as he walked away.  OH! Sam was seeing if I was ambulatory!  OH!  Silly me.  I just didn’t get it until I caught myself doing it to another MS person.  Richard Cohen also did it.  Are you or your family aware of glancing at others?  Has it been done to you?  I’m interested…


Published On: August 26, 2008