In 1994 she wrote her autobiography, A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes: My Story (later made into a movie). The title was taken from a song in Disney’s version of Cinderella. She spoke about her life during and after the Disney years and talked about her MS diagnosis. She spoke of the amount of love that poured in from family, friends and fans and surrounded her with constant hope and support, reminding her that she was never alone. Some of her fellow Mouseketeers are her closest friends (Sharon Baird and Doreen Tracey) along with her dear friend, Frankie Avalon. One of her best friends is actress Shelley Fabares (most noted for her performances on TV shows such as The Donna Reed Show and Coach, and three Elvis Presley films, as well as the wife of Mike Farrell who played BJ Hunnecutt on M*A*S*H). These special friends are part of Annette’s inner circle of support, along with her husband and children.
During MS Awareness month, it is important to know there are real-life princesses in our midst who carry the burden of MS with them with grace and dignity and strength of character. They are not princesses because they were born into royalty, nor are they princesses because they made a lot of money for a Hollywood studio. They are princesses because while they are burdened with photographs and articles being written about them while battling a chronic illness, they also show the world that the face of MS carries strength, beauty, intelligence, and perseverance. For that, I will be forever grateful.
Annette Funicello. (2012). Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia Foundation, Inc. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annette_Funicello.