Many of you might not remember Annette Funicello, but the death of the former Mouseketeer actress raises awareness for more than 400,000 Multiple Sclerosis patients in the United States. Annette Funicello’s death at 70 was caused by Multiple Sclerosis complications.
Annette Funicello became famous thanks to her part in “The Mickey Mouse Club” and even if it was more than half a century ago, her death and longtime struggle with Multiple Sclerosis is putting under the spotlight a condition that impacts millions worldwide and several hundred thousands in the USA. There is no cure and for longtime patients there is constantly a struggle between relapse and relief, heavy medication and their side-effects.
For Annette Funicello it’s been a long struggle with Multiple Sclerosis. She was first diagnosed in 1987, but it wasn’t until 1992 that she informed the public about her condition, the year that she launched The Annette Funicello Research Fund for Neurological Diseases. Since the 90’s, the actress has been making fewer and fewer public appearances as the MS symptoms and episodes increased in intensity and duration.
People first reported that the Mouseketeer was in a coma and was kept on life support before passing away. Her daughter told Extra Blog: “She’s on her toes dancing in heaven. No more MS. My brothers and I were there, holding her sweet hands when she left us”. The actress died at 70 “from complications due to multiple sclerosis, a disease she battled for over 25 years” reads a press release from Disney.
Multiple Sclerosis is a condition that makes the immune system attack the myelin sheath, causing damage to nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms vary from one person to another, but according to the Johns Hopkins Medicine, most common are fatigue, tremors, vision and memory problems, numbness, pain, depression, whereas complications range from epilepsy to paralysis. There is no cure for MS, but the FDA has approved 10 drug therapies meant to slow the progression of the disease. Natural treatments for Multiple Sclerosis have become a lot more appealing to many patients, as they avert the damaging side-effects of drugs.
Annette Funicello became popular as a Mouseketeer, but her music and beach party movies helped skyrocket her popularity in the 50s and 60s. Beach Party” (1963), “Muscle Beach Party” (1964), “Bikini Beach” (1964), “Beach Blanket Bingo” (1965), and “How to Stuff a Wild Bikini” (1965) were quite popular back then, as they gradually revealed more and more of America’s favorite girl.