This week's episode of Fox's American Idol undoubtedly went a long way in helping the general public understand multiple sclerosis and its mysterious symptoms. Famous names have a way of bringing attention to illness and disability.
David Osmond, son of Alan Osmond (the oldest original Osmond brother), took part in this summer's first round of American Idol auditions. He also used the occasion to publicly reveal that he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis three yeas ago. His father, Alan, also has MS.
He explained that until shortly before the audition, he was confined to a wheelchair. Referring to MS as a “roller coaster,” he put a very personal face on the disease that could “flare up, and I could go back to that wheelchair.”
At times, his relapses have rendered him unable to sing or play the guitar, so you've got to admire his decision to put himself through the rigors of American Idol and all the stresses that go along with competition and national exposure.
He's well aware that come the next round, he may be in a wheelchair, or unable to sing, and the world will be witness. But just as Wendy Broker has plans to climb Mount Everest, David is not about to allow his disabilities get in the way of his abilities.
People like David and Wendy are not only an inspiration to all of us who live with MS, but they help to put a very public face on a very private struggle.
David's not the first person to compare relapsing/remitting MS to a roller coaster, but more people will have heard him say it. He's not the first person to be in a wheelchair one week and walking normally the next, but more people will have seen it. He's not the first person -- and he won't be the last -- to declare that he will forge ahead despite MS, but more people will be inspired because of him.
Whether he is successful in this particular competition or not, he will have done good. More power to you, David.
He sailed through to the next round, so we are sure to see more of David Osmond -- perhaps in various stages of relapsing/remitting MS, as he works his way through the American Idol obstacle course. And we'll be cheering him on for his efforts. Best of luck to you, David. We'll be watching.
Published On: January 29, 2009