Last night I watched the movie "Hillary and Jackie" 1998, a film about the cellist Jackie du Pre, who's career was cut short and died from progressive MS.
This film was a box office hit and received several Academy Award nominations.
Du Pre's rapid decline from MS and her debilitating symptoms were difficult for me to watch. Questions kept popping up in my mind "Does a film like this and the high profile celebrity of the person, do anything to educate people about MS?" "Is it because I am sensitive about my own MS that I was disturbed by this movie?" " Does being a celebrity, having an illness like MS, and going public with it, benefit us regular folks with MS or does it do more harm?" "Is any of this really the point?" "Films are meant to be enjoyed and not teach, unless they are documentaries?"
So many questions. I guess because no matter how much we try to inform people about MS, the majority have no clue what it is. My city has a small population 500,000. Every year there is an MS walk. One of our hospitals is a leader in MS research, yet most of the people who live here no nothing about MS or what they do know is so filled with prejudice and misconception.
So I guess I'm asking the big question. Does a film like Hillary and Jackie, help educate us concerning MS, or does it scare the bee geeburrs out of us and cause harm?
Du Pre had a rare, extreme, form of MS and how do we know that she didn't have other conditions that caused her death? Many MS suffers have additional serious illnesses. Just because you have MS doesn't mean you are safe from other health problems. It's not like God says: "OK you have MS so I'll give you a break". Maybe because her decline was so rapid they never did diagnose any other condition and just assumed it was the MS.
Imagine finding out you have MS, something you know very little about. You or a member of your family watches a movie like this and/or Montel Williams spreading so much misinformation about MS.
Not a very good start is it?
Bad enough you have journeyed through the maze of tests, and doctors, and diagnosis,
(if you are lucky) and misdiagnosis (most likely) and then your first experience with high profile individuals with MS, are a women who declines and dies, and a guy who tells you to drink lots of juice.
The celebrity world is not one I'm keen on. I could care less what they wear, where they go, and don't care about their views on anything. I'm just wondering if it is a good thing to show high profile individuals with an illness or does it do harm ?
I apologize for my sloppy editing. Typing this takes me so long due to my ever weakening typing skills. I'm simply too tired to polish it up.