Entries in Ann Romney (3)


Ann Romney Makes Strides for Breast Cancer

Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- Ann Romney will literally be taking large strides toward defeating breast cancer on Saturday morning, when she’ll walk in the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5k in Orlando, Fla.

A representative of the American Cancer Society has confirmed to ABC News that Mrs. Romney is registered to participate in the walk. (Husband Mitt is not expected to walk alongside her.) She will join fellow survivors and the community at Lake Eola Park. Romney herself has battled with breast cancer; she was diagnosed with the illness in January 2009.

Ann Romney, who has had a long family history with the disease, says that cancer is a “serious business.”

“I lost my mother from ovarian cancer, I lost my grandmother from ovarian cancer, I lost my great-grandmother from breast cancer, so for me, you know, it’s been a long line of cancer,” Romney admitted. “Women that have dealt with cancer in their lives, and I unfortunately saw my grandmother die from ovarian and I took care [of] and loved my mother in her death, with her battle with ovarian cancer. So cancer is a serious business.”

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Mrs. Romney was seen just last week supporting the cause by wearing a bright pink Oscar de la Renta dress to the second presidential debate. A spokeswoman for Mrs. Romney said she “has been very involved with breast cancer awareness this month by visiting hospitals and meeting with patients and survivors. She’s worn lots of pink as a result!”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Ann Romney's MS Revelation: The Trauma of Diagnosis

ABC News (NEW YORK) -- Ann Romney told Robin Roberts Thursday on Good Morning America that the multiple sclerosis diagnosis she received 14 years ago was her "darkest hour" that left her "humbled" and "crushed" to dust.

Romney was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998 at age 49, after experiencing severe numbness and fatigue. While the average age at which a patient is diagnosed is 37, so many other patients, are at the beginning or middle of careers, marriages and raising children.

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. The disease attacks the myelin sheath, a protective covering that surrounds nerve cells, and approximately 400,000 Americans have MS, according to the National MS Society. About 200 people are newly diagnosed each week.

While the disease is degenerative, symptoms, which affect the muscles, bowel function, vision, nerve and sexual function and personality, can vary and range greatly in severity.

Helen Solinski of San Jose, Calif., said she felt like the "rug was pulled out from under" her when doctors gave the diagnosis. She had just given birth to her son, and she said she ran from neurologist to neurologist seeking a cure.

"How would I take care of my child?" she wondered. "Was I going to be a little league mom in a wheelchair? Would I ever feel my son's hand in mine? I was completely numb on my left side during the first attack."

For Michelle Clos, 45, of Texas, her MS diagnosis sounded like "a lot of alphabet soup," she said, and she struggled to find a strategy that allowed her to address the challenges of MS without letting MS define her.

After she was officially diagnosed with the disease in 2001, she said she had to change the way she thought about life, "get rid of the non-essentials and use a positive approach to handle everything that life was throwing my way, which worked well for me, led me to reduce how much I worked and take what I learned about myself to start coaching others who were impacted by MS," said Clos.

People have spent their entire life up until the point of diagnosis imagining their life in a certain way, so they have to interpret how they're going to let go of that picture and how they see themselves, and fit that new information into the sense of who they are, Rosalind Kalb, a clinical psychologist and director of the Professional Resource Center at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, told ABC News in June.

"It's a grieving process," she said. "And you can't move ahead on how you're going to live with MS until you spend a little time with the loss of a life without MS."

While the diagnosis can throw one's life into disarray, patients should not jump to any conclusions about how the disease will run its course, said Kalb.

It's important for patients not to rush out and quit their jobs or break up relationships because they may be able to live a full life with manageable symptoms," Kalb said.

 Doctors and patients do not know how their multiple sclerosis will behave in the early weeks and months after diagnosis, and it is really only in hindsight that one can understand the severity of their disease.

Some days are harder than others, Solinski said, but "the sun will come up every morning," she said. "It does and so do I. We all adapt …What truly drives me is my mission to stop this disease."

Solinski found purpose in combating her disease when she began working at the Myelin Repair Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to funding research for myelin repair treatment targets.

"The Myelin Repair Foundation was exactly what I needed to get involved to channel my fear and anxiety of the what the future might hold," said Solinski. "MS can run in families, my greatest fear is my son receiving a diagnosis of MS. I can't stop fighting the disease."

For Clos, she said she takes the disease day by day by focusing on her goals.

She encourages "individuals in the MS community to pursue their own goals and overcome their challenges." She adds, "I continue to practice gratitude daily."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Ann Romney's MS Scare Highlights Variable, Unpredictable Disease

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Ann Romney's struggles with multiple sclerosis kept her away from her husband's campaign shortly before Super Tuesday.

The wife of the presumptive GOP's presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, told Entertainment Tonight about a "health scare" she had in the days leading up to the marathon day of primaries in March.

"I was quite fatigued, and I knew I couldn't quit. I didn't tell anybody I was tired," Romney said.

As she continued her work on the campaign, she said her symptoms worsened.

"You know, what happens with me is that I start to almost lose my words. I almost can't think. I can't get my words out. I start to stumble a little bit and so those things were happening and I thought, 'Uh oh, big trouble.'"

Experts say Romney's experience with MS is fairly common for the majority of people who deal with the symptoms of the disease, which is characterized by variable, often unpredictable symptoms.

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disorder in which the body's immune system attacks the protective covering, called the myelin sheath, surrounding nerves in the brain and spinal cord.

When the nerves in these key structures are damaged, the impulses controlling basic functions like movement and cognition become distorted, producing a wide range of symptoms, some minor and some severe.

"MS is the most variable of serious neurologic diseases," said Dr. Fred Lublin, director of the Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for MS at Mount Sinai Medical Center. "It can be very, very mild, to the point where some people don't know they have it, and it can be very debilitating for others. And everything in between."

Romney's experience with MS has become a central part of her husband's presidential campaign. The Romneys often discuss her 1998 diagnosis at age 49, and how she dealt with the disease while raising her five sons. Experts say a number of things about Romney's current schedule and role in the campaign may have aggravated her symptoms, producing the effects she described.

"Those who have MS have some underlying damage to the nervous system. If their system is off -- if they get overheated or stressed a lot or unusually tired -- the symptoms may manifest themselves" by making the transmission of impulses along the already-frayed neurons even worse, Lublin said.

According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, about 400,000 Americans and 2.1 million people worldwide live with MS. Most experience a range of symptoms that can come and go, but for some, the disease worsens progressively and becomes physically disabling. Romney herself has said she once feared that she would be confined to a wheelchair and would not be able to cook or care for her family.

MS is chronic, and there is no cure. But experts say the treatments for MS have vastly improved since the 1990s. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved eight medications, half approved in the last five years. The drugs work to block the immune system's attacks on the brain and prevent relapses of the disease.

The drugs have been fairly successful in treating people like Romney, said Tim Coetzee, chief research officer at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

"The unmet need is tackling the need of people with more progressive, debilitating forms of the disease," he said.

Romney has said she keeps her MS under control with traditional medicine, but also uses a combination of alternative therapies, such as reflexology and yoga, to keep her symptoms in check. Romney is also an avid horseback rider, which is actually also a treatment for MS.

"It's known that horseback riding is particularly good for MS patients," said Dr. Adam Kaplin, an assistant professor of psychiatry and neurology at Johns Hopkins Medical Institute in Baltimore. "It helps people coordinate their balance and train their muscles."

Generally, experts say any exercise is helpful for managing symptoms of MS.

Although a stressful, tiring lifestyle can take its toll, many patients are able to keep their symptoms in check by staying tuned to their body's signals. They said there's no reason to think Romney's MS will keep her from fulfilling her responsibilities to her husband's campaign or her potential role as First Lady.

"There are scores of people with MS in highly active and stressful positions. They do just fine," Lublin said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio