"I'm going to beat multiple sclerosis!" vows talk show host Montel Williams, who stunned his fans when he recently announced he's been stricken with the crippling disease.
But what 43-year-old Montel didn't reveal is that for the past 21 2 years, he's been what his doctor calls a "very brave guinea pig" in an experimental medical treatment. He's one of only seven MS sufferers in the U.S. to find hope in an unpatented, radical form of hormone- replacement therapy.
And his doctor, Edmund Chein of the Palm Springs Life Extension Institute, believes Montel can ultimately be cured. TV HOST Montel told The ENQUIRER he is getting experimental drug treatment.
"I'm gonna get there, man. I'm gonna beat this thing!" Emmy-winner Montel said in an exclusive ENQUIRER interview.
"Dr. Chein put me on a program that has already diminished my symptoms by about 65 percent.
"I don't want to be a poster child for MS, but I do want to be an example for other sufferers. I want to inspire people and show them that they can live and prosper with MS.
"I would like to ask ENQUIRER readers for their prayers -- not just for me, but for all the sufferers of MS out there."
FAST FACTS: Montel's father Herman is the chief of Baltimore's fire department.
MS is a debilitating disease of the central nervous system. When Montel first began suffering symptoms about five years ago, he carried out his own research project and ended up with Dr. Chein.
Dr. Chein told The ENQUIRER that Montel began a radical series of treatments -- enhancement of his testosterone and other hormones to the level of a 20-year-old.
"We had no plan to treat MS -- we simply wanted to make him stronger so he could better battle his medical problems," said Dr. Chein. "But we discovered that the MS was getting better in our patients. One of our patients has been entirely cured.
"Montel has been on this plan for 21 2 years now, and we have probably extended his life.
"We have certainly improved his MS condition. I believe he has a good chance for a complete cure."
Montel has declared war on the disease by opening the Montel Williams MS Research Fund in cooperation with Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard MS Center.
Contributions can be sent to: Montel Williams MS Research, The Foundation
for Neurologic Diseases, 10 State Street, Newburyport, Mass. 01950.
-- JOHN BLOSSER