Following her weekend wedding to professional baseball player Cutter Dykstra, “The Sopranos” alum Jamie-Lynn Sigler has revealed to People that she’s been suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS) for the last 15 years. The actress shared that the couple’s 2-year-old son, Beau, is part of the reason why she spoke out about her illness.
“I didn’t want him to get to an age where he felt like he had to keep this secret for me as well,” she said. “I wanted to be an example to him of strength and courage.”
MS is a disease that affects the brain and spinal cord, and scientists still aren’t sure what causes it. It can be managed with medication, but as Sigler shared, living with MS isn’t easy.
“I can’t walk for a long period of time without resting,” she said. “I cannot run. No superhero roles for me. Stairs? I can do them but they’re not the easiest. When I walk, I have to think about every single step, which is annoying and frustrating.”
My twin sister has MS and was diagnosed in her early twenties, just like Sigler. She is also a mom. She also takes medication to manage her illness and she, too, struggles with symptoms on a daily basis — but she refuses to let the disease get her down, for my niece’s sake. In fact, Sigler and my twin have a lot in common when it comes to MS. As I watched the video this morning, my eyes filled with tears.
But there is a possible silver lining here. By coming out about her struggle with MS, Sigler isn’t just setting an example of strength and courage for her son, she’s sending a message of hope to other people living with MS. Here she is, a Hollywood actress, who has been battling the disease for more than a decade and is still going.
Hopefully she’ll even be able to use her celebrity to raise awareness of the disease and even motivate researchers to find a cure sooner. In fact, it appears that she’s trying to do just that.
“In my lifetime I really think there will be a cure, and my doctor tells me that all the time,” she revealed in the video. “And I don’t think he’s telling me that just to [make me] feel better. I think the more attention we can give to this disease — you know, there’s not a lot of funding for research of MS because there’s not millions necessarily that have it, but it is a disease that affects a lot of people and I think if given the proper attention hopefully there will be better days ahead.”
You go, Jamie.
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