This presidential campaign is an interesting match-up of first lady candidates and their relationship to Multiple Sclerosis. In one corner you have the incumbent, Michelle Obama. At the Olympics the first lady talked about her father’s battle with MS. According to the Washington Post, Obama, who said she was “just in awe” of their company, told the athletes that some of her fondest sports memories stemmed from watching the Olympics on television. She shared the story of her father, who was athletic but contracted multiple sclerosis “in the prime of his life.”
On the other hand, Ann Romney is an MS patient herself. Her battle with MS has been well chronicled. In an interview with Piers Morgan, presidential candidate Mitt Romney recalled the 2002 Olympics and why he nominated Ann as a torch bearer. “Ann had been diagnosed with MS in about 1998. And she was going downhill fast. Her right side was numb. She was having a hard time getting up stairs. We were looking at potentially seeing a wheelchair in her future. As we got closer to the Olympics, and she got stronger and stronger, we were hopeful that Ann might be someone who could carry the torch into Salt Lake City. She made the kind of progress that suggested to the people who knew her that she was a hero.” Ann is also active in MS charities and was in a documentary with yours truly about, “The Future of MS.”
It appears that for the first time in history this campaign will have a side discussion about Multiple Sclerosis. This is a great opportunity for these two prominent women to shine the spotlight on the advances in MS treatments and research. Which first lady candidate do you feel will use this platform to elevate MS awareness and research on a national level?