Question of the Week: Dying From Complications of MS

  • With the news this week that Annette Funicello, actress and singer, died from complications of MS, awareness of multiple sclerosis is reaching more people throughout the country.  Annette is well known and loved for her appearances as an original “Mousketeer” on the Disney’s original Mickey Mouse Club and in the popular teen beach party movies of the 1960’s.  

    Annette Funicello was diagnosed with MS in 1987 and shared her story in the autobiography, A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes: My Story published in 1995.  Annette spoke to NPR’s Fresh Air in 1994 about Mickey Mouse ears and why she went public with her multiple sclerosis diagnosis.  You can read the transcript on their website.

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    Annette passed away on Monday, April 8, 2013, at Mercy Southwest Hospital in Bakersfield, California, at the age of 70.  According to a statement released by the Disney Company, “she died peacefully from complications due to Multiple Sclerosis, a disease she battled for over 25 years.”  In one of the earlier news pieces I read, it was stated that Annette had been in an “MS coma” for years.  I'm not exactly sure what was meant by that.

    My questions this week are:

    • Does learning that someone who battled MS for so many years reportedly died from complications of the disease make you more concerned about your personal future living with this disease? 
    • Do you think that the news will frighten persons newly-diagnosed with the disease and their families? 
    • Or does it make you feel more hopeful that greater awareness of the disease may result from the media exposure?  

    Basically, how does the news make you feel?


    Lisa Emrich is author of the blog Brass and Ivory: Life with MS and RA and founder of the Carnival of MS Bloggers.


Published On: April 10, 2013