Everyone could use a good dose of inspiration now and again.
I find it in nature, in words, in music (but not Words & Music), in other people overcoming challenges large and small to make an impact in their little corner of the world.
And now, I find inspiration in a certain former daytime TV show host who can currently be seen pimping products on QVC.
I never had reason to give Montel Williams much thought. I mean, I knew who he was, knew he was busted for pot, knew that he had MS. But he was nowhere on my radar screen until I was diagnosed.
Of course, I read everything I could get my eyes on, including some not-so-helpful advice on the interwebs.
Then, on a whim, I looked up Montel. Thanks to my non-Boolean search, I there were a lot of “marijuana” and “blender” links. But lo and behold, he has an MS website, and an MS foundation.
Celebrities! They’re just like us! They get sick, too!
He has used his celebrity to become an advocate for MS research and treatment. Sure, there’s some self-promotion thrown in there (want to hear him sing?), but every single dollar given to his foundation goes toward research. One-hundred percent.
When I think of famous people who have become advocates, the first image that comes to mind is Michael J. Fox sitting at that big-ass table under glaring lights testifying before a Senate subcommittee about the need for Parkinson’s research.
I wonder how difficult it was for them to share their disease with the world. There’s a lot of private suffering that goes on, trust me, and here they are already on the public stage.
It takes courage and conviction to become the de facto poster child for a disease. Montel and Michael have come to realize that their respective illnesses are larger than them, and answered the call to become the public face of Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis.
Because of their unique standing, they give us all a voice, a larger platform.
They aren’t the only ones who keep me hopeful. I have blogger friends who remind me daily with their MS musings that I’m not fighting this alone. They are full of wit and grace and vim and vigor.
There’s also a friend of a friend (and now my friend) who is just remarkable. While we aren’t closeclose, I have always admired her intelligence and candor and strength. We’re animal people and both like good music and nature (This is starting to sound like a personal ad, I know.)
She has Parkinson’s. The way she handles her insidious disease is a field guide for how I want to approach MS.
I hate that she has to go through this struggle. But I am grateful beyond belief that she has taken me under her wing, helped me through some tough days and shown through example that life is what you make of it, disease be damned.
The world needs more people like her, and Michael and Montel.
And I might just need that HealthMaster blender Montel is pitching, too. Kitchen inspiration in 1100 watts of power.