After many years of doctor’s appointments and unanswered questions, actress Teri Garr finally received a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis in 1999. But she had been experiencing symptoms as early as 1983, per an interview with Reader’s Digest. That year, Garr went for a run in New York’s Central Park—and felt an intense, stabbing pain in her arm as she tripped. More than two-thirds of people living with MS report pain as a symptom, the MS International Foundation reports. She went public about having MS in 2002 and shortly after became an ambassador for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
While on tour with his band the O’Jays in 1983, Walter Williams began to experience numbness in his toes, feet, and legs. “I probably stopped in every hospital in every city trying to find out what was going on,” Williams explained in one 2010 interview. After two months of appointments, he finally received his MS diagnosis, which he kept to himself for years. Today, the jazz singer and R&B Music Hall of Fame honoree stays healthy by keeping up with his treatments and exercising.
Art Alexakis, singer-songwriter of the rock band Everclear, has had a long, successful career as a musician. Shortly after a car accident in 2017, Alexakis’s arm began to throb in a peculiar way, which he dismissed as nothing major. But after an MRI, he received a diagnosis he wasn’t expecting. “When I heard ‘multiple sclerosis,’ I’d heard the phrase but didn’t know what it was,” Alexakis told Rolling Stone in an interview. “It felt like a death sentence.” Today, Alexakis still has “episodes” every now and then, but quitting smoking, following a healthier diet, and medication from his doctors has helped him find relief.
Former American television personality Montel Williams is best known for his talk show “The Montel Williams Show,” which ran from 1991 to 2008. While he first received his diagnosis of multiple sclerosis in 1999, the host noticed symptoms many years before, starting with vision loss in his left eye. Eventually, his eyesight came back, and he served as a naval intelligence officer for 22 years. Williams looks to staying active, a healthy diet, and medical marijuana for pain relief during flare-ups.
“I’ve also been involved in a study called the Wisconsin Project by researchers at the University of Wisconsin. It’s a device that was made for traumatic brain injury that electrically stimulates the brain through the tongue to help the brain reorganize and create different pathways,” he told the LA Times.
Tamia Hill is a R&B singer-songwriter who holds six Grammy nominations. In an interview with Oprah, Hill admits to ignoring the “little whispers” from her body telling her that “something was wrong.” Initially, she stretched herself too thin between being a mother and focusing on her career. “That’s one of the things I learned from that time—was to try to keep everything in balance.” After she started experiencing numbness in her hands and feet and severe, unexplained fatigue, Hill made her way to the hospital—but it took three doctors, a misdiagnosis of a pulled muscle, and several MRIs to finally reach her MS diagnosis in 2003 at 28 years old.