Jamie-Lynn Sigler talks multiple sclerosis diagnosis in the wake of the 24th Annual Race to Erase MS Gala, which will honor her with a Medal of Hope. The actress first revealed her illness in January 2016.
Jamie-Lynn Sigler talked to ETonline about how it is to live with multiple sclerosis (MS). The Sopranos star, now 35 years of age, has received the diagnosis very early in her life. She was only 20-years old when she found out she was suffering from MS and, as would anyone in her place, she was shocked. “At 20 years old your life is just beginning. I was in the middle of shooting Sopranos and everything was going great”, she explains. “To get a diagnosis like this was scary.” But once she got diagnosed and started treatment, her symptoms disappeared, which made it easy for her and those around her to ignore it. “So, I kind of lived in denial for a while — or at least as long as I could.”
Before opening-up about MS, in January of last year, Sigler feared that her career might end if she reveals her condition. Or that she wouldn’t be able to pretend MS was not part of her life.
When she made the choice to finally speak about it, she did it because she didn’t want to hide the diagnosis from her son, Beau, who is now 2-years old. “I want him to believe that he’s going to grow up in a world where, no matter what adversities you have, you’re still worthy of opportunity, and love, and compassion.” And when she put it like that, she recounts, she suddenly realized she deserved that, too.
Sigler was moved by the kind and inspiring words that Race to Erase MS Gala founder Nancy Davis said about her in a joint appearance in front of the camera and replied: “to hear something like that, that means the world because it just sometimes feels like I’m in my [own] fight.”
Multiple sclerosis is the most common autoimmune disorder affecting the brain. In 2015, 2.3 million people were suffering from MS worldwide.
The condition debuts between the ages 20 and 50 and it cuts short the average lifespan with 5 to 10 years. However, most people who have received their diagnosis live to be 70.