Tagged with: advocate awareness diagnosis disabilities disability disability rights life
When you hear the name, “Montel Williams” what do you think? A daytime-Emmy award winner? A well renowned talk show host for the past 17 years?
Montel announced his diagnosis of multiple sclerosis in 1999. “When the neurologist said those words-“You have MS”-it hit me like a brick. I thought the diagnosis was a death sentence.” He goes on to say that he heard of MS, but didn’t know what it was. All he knew, was it meant excruciating pain & the possibility he could lose control of his body.
Montel Williams states that at first he was terrified and wanted to give up on life & “it was enough to plunge into the depths of despair.” However, he realized early on that there was no point in feeling the way that he felt.
He loves to tell the story of almost being hit by a taxi cab driver in New York City and the driver gets out of his car and starts yelling, “Montel, Montel, Are you okay? What are you doing? I heard about your diagnosis, are you okay?” Montel says that he knew at that precise moment that he didn’t want to be selfish. He was a recognizable face. People still knew who he was and he could use that to help raise awareness of multiple sclerosis and that’s exactly what he has devoted his life to right now.
Montel has used his own diagnosis to create and to benefit many different organizations. He founded the non-profit Montel Williams MS Foundation to focus on research and education. He has recently become a spokesperson for the Partnership for Prescription Assistance- a patient-assistance program clearing-house that helps low-income patients apply for free or reduced-priced prescription drugs. He has written several books regarding his diagnosis, and as inspiration to others that have gone through similar experiences as himself.
He was once asked by Dr. Oz what his biggest fear was when he wakes up in the morning. His answer was simply, “Not to be able to walk.”
He states that his biggest frustration is that he has a disease without an obvious cause, without a cure, that he doesn’t have a ton of control over, or control on how he responds to it. It is plain & simple, “A disease of the unknown.”
Every person encounters battles and obstacles in their life, but every obstacle that comes our way has its own specific purpose.
Montel was a well-known talk-show host that received the unfortunate diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. However, because he knew he was well-known he used that as an advantage to raise money for the cause and become an advocate. His diagnosis became an opportunity, and although it is sad that he is endlessly struggling with his own personal battle he has become a great role-model. He is not just sitting around waiting for the disease to take control over his life. Instead, he is using his battle as an opportunity to help others. He is still well-known for his talk-show host days, however he now is leaving a new legacy behind.
Check back Wednesday July 27, 2011 to read about Michael J Fox and his opportunity in disguise.