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Tuesday, March 6, 2007

No more “diagnose and adios” for “Laverne and Shirley” star: MS patient education

David Lander acted as Andrew “Squiggy” Squiggman in the 1970s sitcom “Laverene and Shirley.” He’s still laughing, even 23 years after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. In those days, there was nothing doctors could do about MS, so doctors’ treatment was “diagnose and adios.” Now, many treatments are available.

“My doctor had painted a fairly bleak picture of the disease, even going so far as to say I probably wouldn’t walk again,” he said. Now he walks slower—and is a scout for the Seattle Mariners baseball team—and for the handicap accessibility of ballparks.

Speaking to MS patients is one of his greatest joys. He adds, “There’s a great strength that we derive from each other. Support groups offer MS patients an invaluable resource.”

“Wherever the chips may fall, if I fall with them, I will do so gracefully, laughing.”

Advice to friends and families of patients with MS: Take ‘em out to the ballgame—but check first for the ballpark’s accessibility for handicapped people.

Read another story about a celebrity spokesperson , or read Linda Childers’ article, “Fall Down Laughing,” in Neurology Now’s Jan./Feb. issue.

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