Is it possible to make a friend by reading a book they wrote? I believe so. I believe Annette Funicello became a friend of mine when I read her book, A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes. I didn’t relate to her fame or fortune obviously, but I related to her battle with Multiple Sclerosis.
I read her book in 1994 a few years after I was diagnosed at the age of 15. It felt so good to read her words and to find someone who understood. Someone who was bringing light to a disease that was often hidden and misunderstood.
I battled MS many, many years. I did many of the injectable medications, 15 hospital stays in 3 years and 2 years of IV steroids in a freestanding clinic.
In that time I finished high school, put myself through college, spent a couple years on the mission field, met and got engaged to a miserable jerk, thankfully got dumped, met a great guy and got married.
Then suddenly I received the golden ticket of MS. I went into spontaneous remission. We started a family. I have been in remission now for almost 7 years.
My girls don’t know a mama in a wheelchair. They don’t know a mama sick from powerful steroids and medications. They know a mama that can play with them. They know a mama who is getting back to running. They know a mama who was greatly inspired by Annette Funicello. She gave their mama hope when she needed it. She let a young girl know she was not alone with this crummy disease.
I have cried so much since I saw the tweet about Annette passing away Monday at the age of 70 from complications of the MS. I don’t know what to do to honor my friend, but there must be something. Some way, I can join the many who will seek to honor her in any number of fashions. I don’t know what that will look like, but know, my friend, you will not be forgotten.My Patrice wearing her Disney jacket (she, at age 2, is in no way interested in standing still for a picture)
Survive til you Thrive!