Just over six months ago, The Real L Word star Lauren Bedford Russell received bone chilling medical news. She was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. As with anyone so young- she is 31- her reaction was to be frightened and shocked. Multiple Sclerosis is a debilitating disease. It is believed to be an autoimmune disorder. The disorder attacks the fatty sheath covering the nerves and slowly degrades the nerves.
Lauren lost vision in one eye for a time due to optic neuritis, but has regained some of the vision. She is currently on Copaxone in order to mitigate the episodes and prevent them from happening; however, most medications slow the progression of the disorder rather than cure it.
The diagnosis came at the same time that Lauren was rising to success, and she is persevering despite the reality that this disorder can do a lot of harm.
Lauren, who works heavily in jewelry creation, stated “By publicly coming out about my recent MS diagnosis and becoming a fervent spokesperson for Multiple Sclerosis, I hope to turn my personal fight into public awareness to educate people about the warning signs, raise funds for more research and overall inspire positive change towards the disease. I strongly believe in the power of one to make a difference, after all Jack Osbourne inspired me to go see my doctor as after hearing back in June of 2012 about the first symptoms he experienced, which were similar to mine, I suspected something was wrong with me. Now I am committed to do the same for others and plan working with the National MS Society in every possible way. I’ve already designed a special bracelet for my Lyons Fine Jewelry line called POSITIVITY BRACELET with 15% of the proceeds to be donated to the National MS Society.”
While the disease does cut down life expectancy, people who have the disease can live long lives. Annette Funicello has lived with the disorder for decades. Jack Osborune, who first urged Lauren to get tested for the disorder, also has MS, as do Ann Romney, the wife of the former Republican presidential candidate, and Montel Williams.
Lauren is hoping to raise public awareness of the disorder even though there will not be any more The Real L Word. It is also a wonderful reminder that being lesbian is about more than just women. Being lesbian is about life- both good and bad.
Lauren puts most of her time into Lyon Fine Jewelry, which is a high-end fashion jewelry company with its Equality and Rock the Vote bracelets- as sported by Kelly Osborne, Jason Mraz, Patti Stanger, Cyndi Lauper, and so many more- and her Obama FORWARD bracelet which supported the Obama/Biden reelection. Her latest creation goes to support research into Multiple Sclerosis.
In the announcement of her diagnosis, it was noted that:
According to the National Institutes of Health, the MS symptoms typically include muscle weakness, numbness or tingling sensations and problems with coordination and vision. More common in women, MS is usually diagnosed between age 20 and 40, and symptoms may start out mild, come and go or become so severe that a person becomes unable to speak or walk.
Lauren also wants her fans to know that she is receiving proper medical attention, and is scheduled to participate in the upcoming MS awareness week in New York and walk in the Philly MS walk.
Again, staying true to her professional and personal principles of using her jewelry to be in the vanguard of social and political activism, and vigorously championing causes that are close to her heart, she has designed a special bracelet called “Positivity Bracelet” – which is orange (MS officially color) cord braided with a + sign in silver – – with 15% of the proceeds going to The National Multiple Sclerosis Society / New York City Chapter
Lauren will also be at the 23rd Anniversary of The Dinah Shore Weekend this upcoming April.