Actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler says her announcement earlier this week that she is living with multiple sclerosis was a “liberating day” for her.
It was also an inspiring revelation for many people living with the debilitating disease that affects the central nervous system.
Sigler, the 34-year-old star of “The Sopranos,” told People magazine she was diagnosed with MS 14 years ago when she was 20.
The announcement was quickly picked up by other news organizations. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society featured it prominently on their main web page.
After the story broke, people with MS swamped websites with reaction. On the Healthline Facebook “Living with Multiple Sclerosis” page, the story garnered more than 400 “likes” and 102 “shares.”
In addition, more than two dozen comments were posted. While a few wondered why Sigler kept her MS diagnosis secret for so many years, others commended her for “coming out of the closet” about her disease.
“So glad she shared,” wrote Debbie Curran. “People need to know more about this disease. She’s right to speak up about awareness.”
“Welcome to the club,” added Carol Hall Serro. “You have nothing to be ashamed of. Hopefully, you speaking out will benefit all of us in the long run.”
“Please remain in the forefront,” said Linda Scifo. “We need you.”
‘No Superhero Roles for Me’
Sigler revealed to People that she told her then-boyfriend, Cutter Dykstra, about her disease just a couple weeks after they started dating in 2012.
The couple has since married and they now have a 2-year-old son.
Sigler said the support she received from her husband has “meant everything to her.”
Sigler told People her symptoms have been stable for six years thanks to medication. However, she has difficulty walking for long periods of time and climbing stairs is a struggle. Running or even jogging is not an option.
“No superhero roles for me,” she said.
The details of Sigler’s life also evoked reaction from Healthline’s MS community.
“I can’t run anymore either,” wrote Dawn Barron. “Fatigue is crazy and heat is a nightmare.”
“Hang in there and fight!” added Tracy A. Smith.
Sigler told CNN she is “overwhelmed” by the reaction she’s received. She said she hopes her announcement will help advance MS research.
The publicity spurred others to reveal more about their experience with the disease.
Barron said she kept her diagnosis secret for years because she worked in a “crazy corporate male-driven workplace” and didn’t want anyone to know she was “sick.”
Now, however, she is upfront about her illness.
“I’ve grown a lot and I’m very open about my MS,” Barron wrote. “I’ve also learned that my MS does not define me.”