Whilst of course this is devastating news for Jack and his family, MS experts are hoping that the increased interest surrounding the high profile celebrity and his condition will raise awareness and flout common misconceptions surrounding the illness.
Pam Macfarlane who works for the MS Trust told The Independent that since Jacks diagnosis, many individuals have been commenting on how young he is. “Actually, he’s probably about the average age of someone to be diagnosed but there’s this general impression that it’s something old people have,” she explained.
Age is just one of the numerous misconceptions surrounding MS, and so Jack speaking out about it is extremely valuable to those with MS. If the public become interested in what having MS means and what symptoms they may experience, we might be able to take something good from this bad situation.
Ian Fannon of the MS Society said “I’m conscious that I don’t want to come across like we’re jumping up and down that a famous person has MS.”
He went onto say: “It’s a terrible thing and it’s obviously going to be a difficult time for him and his family but there can be huge benefits when celebrities speak about a diagnosis like MS because awareness of the condition is very, very poor.”
This isn’t the first time we have seen positive effects after a celebrity has opened up about a health condition. For example, we all remember the ‘Jade Goody effect’ when the reality-television star revealed that she had been diagnosed with cervical cancer. After Goody died in 2009, screening tests went up by a staggering 50 per cent.
More recently, author Terry Pratchett has been applauded for raising the profile of Alzheimer’s – particularly after millions watched his documentaries. Similarly, Michael J Fox’s openness about his Parkinson’s has also done huge things in terms of spreading awareness of the condition.
Living with an incurable condition such as MS can affect your emotional health as well as your physical health. From the initial shock and devastation of hearing the news through to coming to terms with actually living with the condition – your life will undoubtedly change and often it is at times like these that we need some extra support.
If you are living with a long-term illness and have experienced a change in appetite, in your sleep patterns, energy levels or mood – you may benefit from seeking additional support from a qualified counsellor. To find out how a counsellor may be able to help you, please visit the homepage of this site and use the search tool to locate a qualified professional in your local area.
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