Apr 29, 2002
PR Newswire - USA;
Emmy Award-winning host and executive producer of The Montel Williams Show, Montel Williams, announced today he has agreed to partner for a second year with Spotlight Health, the leading creator of celebrity-featured health issue awareness campaigns, to promote awareness of multiple sclerosis throughout 2002 with educational videos and printed materials, a new Web site, live online chats, print advertisements and public relations outreach.
Diagnosed with MS in 1999, Montel has since vowed to work towards significantly increasing public knowledge of this often debilitating condition. To achieve this goal, the campaign will consist of a series public relations and consumer education efforts led by Montel focusing on raising awareness of MS and its symptoms and treatment options. The campaign will also aim to offer outlets of support and encouragement to those whose lives are affected by MS.
"When the neurologist said those three words -- "You have MS" -- it hit me like a brick," Montel says. "I thought the diagnosis was a death sentence. But now I know. I have MS -- it doesn't have me."
MS is a chronic disease of the central nervous system that generally strikes between the ages of 20 and 40. Symptoms of MS range from mild numbness or tingling sensations in the limbs to paralysis or loss of vision. Because its varied symptoms manifest slowly and often overlap with other conditions, MS is one of the most difficult diseases to diagnose and understand.
Although many people in the United States have been diagnosed with the lifelong and potentially debilitating disease, recent polls and medical research suggest there is a high prevalence of unknown cases because it is difficult to diagnose -- meaning many people are not receiving proper care and treatment. Currently, there is no cure for MS.
"Since MS can be tricky to diagnose, our goal is to work with Montel to make the public aware of the symptoms of the disease and the effective treatments that are currently available," said Spotlight Health President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Richard Hull. "We strive to reach people who might not otherwise get the information and support they need to improve their lives both before and after an MS diagnosis."
To help inform and support those affected by MS, Spotlight Health's campaign will blend Montel's inspirational, personal battle with MS with the latest information on the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of the disease from four of the world's foremost neurological medical experts. Montel and the physicians will be featured in live online chats with the public throughout the course of the year in addition to participating in other multimedia public relations efforts.
"I make my living talking," Montel said, "and this is one subject I'm never going to stop talking about until everyone knows the symptoms of MS, the treatments that are out there and, most importantly, until a cure is found."
Awareness of the symptoms of MS and knowing when and how to seek medical attention are paramount to the early diagnosis and treatment of MS and therefore are important components of the relationship between Montel and Spotlight Health.
Spotlight Health's multiple sclerosis awareness campaign is one of several the company has created to provide the public with latest information and support on a variety of health issues including morbid obesity featuring Carnie Wilson, heart disease with Larry King, abdominal aortic aneurysm with Bob Uecker and Sen. Bob Dole and more.
About the Montel Williams MS Foundation
When Montel was diagnosed with MS in 1999, he made a pledge to use his celebrity to find a cure. Because of his unique position, Montel has had access to research being conducted around the world. And, true to his word, he has established The Montel Williams MS Foundation to further the scientific study of MS and disseminate information to sufferers and the general public. The goals and scope of The Montel Williams MS Foundation are far-reaching: they are to provide financial assistance to select organizations and institutions conducting research in search of a cure, to raise national awareness and to educate the public. For more information, visit http://www.montelms.org/ or call 1-877-MontelMS.
About Spotlight Health
Spotlight Health is the leading creator of celebrity-featured omnimedia health-issue awareness campaigns. Compelling stories of celebrities' personal health experiences are merged with accurate, understandable medical information -- creating engaging, supportive health-care information. Spotlight Health delivers this unique content to target consumers and physicians through multiple, coordinated distribution channels that include the Web, television, radio, print, software and live events. Additional information on Spotlight Health can be obtained at www.spotlighthealth.com.
Contact: Media, Alicia Johnson of Spotlight Health, +1-310-282-2414
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