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Ann Romney Gives Hope to those with MS

April 10, 2018

Ann Romney, diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at age 49 in 1998, says she remembers what it is like to feel as though you have no more hope—this is exactly why she strives to give others just like her the hope they need.

She says she remembers thinking her life was over, that there was nothing that could now be done. She remembers the period of depression she endured after her diagnosis, as many do.

Miss Romney, Ann’s husband, was by her side when she received her diagnosis. “He cried,” she recalled. “And then he held me and he said: ‘I don’t care if you get in a wheelchair, I don’t care if you make another dinner, we’re gonna be fine. And we’re in this together.’”

After grieving for a period of time after she had been diagnosed, she realized she had to stop dwelling on it and start living.
She joined her politician husband Mitt on the campaign trail when he ran for governor of Massachusetts and later when he ran for the president of the United States. She realized she wanted to get up and be active instead of giving into sadness and pain.

She said while campaigning people would come with other neurological diseases and multiple sclerosis because they sympathized her. “They gave me energy. They gave me another reason to keep going,” she said.

During her time as a patient of Howard Weiner, MD, a neurologist and director of the multiple sclerosis program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the two decided to begin the Ann Romney Center for Neurological Diseases. The center is co-led by Romney, Weiner, and Dennis Selkoe, MD, and is home to a team of 250 researchers who are working to find cures, prevention and treatments for diseases like MS, Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, Parkinson’s disease and brain tumors.

Romney said MS gave her the ability to assist in the push to find a cure for the disease. “I’m now strong. I was weak. I found answers, and I fought my way through. Now I call it my gift,” she said.

“I know what it’s like to be desperate,” she shared. “I know what it’s like to have no hope. And I don’t want people to feel that way anymore. I am going to give people hope.”