Jack Osbourne is putting an amazing face on Multiple Sclerosis. One of the pioneers to reality TV with his rock-and-roll family, the 29-year-old was diagnosed with the disease a few years ago and rather than wallow in it, he decided to get out in front of it. He’s educating people about it.
And, he’s doing it in a creative way, in one webisode, he is asking people at the famous Pink’s Hot Dog stand in Hollywood, Calif. and asking them what they know about Multiple Sclerosis. (For example, “True or False: About 50 percent of the people diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis die within 20 years of their diagnosis?”)
For those who live with MS, there may be plenty to learn, too. The webisodes are funny, personal and very informative. It’s for the newly-diagnosed, and those who have friends and family who are diagnosed, and it’s good for children to watch, too who still don’t undertsand much about it.
The show does have his wife, Lisa, and daughter Pearl in it, and of course his famous father and mother, Ozzy and Sharon, and sister Kelly are a part of it, but it’s mostly about him and his journey through the world of MS. “You Don’t Know Jack About MS ™” was created for people living with M.S. and their loved ones and the free web series is produced in partnership with Teva Neuroscience. The idea of the whole thing, which was launched this month, was to start a new and informative conversation about MS. He especially plans to overcome the misconceptions and myths, and help patients manage their disease.
(See the photo gallery of Jack and his family since his diagnosis in the gallery above.)
“You Don’t Know Jack about MS”(http://youdontknowjackaboutms.com) is on its seventh short episode and free to everyone. In his personal note to the public on the website, Jack says, “You first got to know me as a teenager on MTV more than ten years ago. For starters, I am a bit different now than when I was a teen. I’ve started producing my own reality TV shows, got married to my wife Lisa, and last year we had a beautiful baby girl named Pearl. Two years ago, I was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), the most common form of multiple sclerosis (MS).”
He thought he was going to be in a wheelchair soon (like many people first diagnosed with the illness), and he changed his diet and routine. He details his exercise habits, his new diet and how he changed his mindset.
He says, “It’s not just women or older people who get it, and it’s not a death sentence. I thought, ‘Why don’t more people know about this?’ I decided to create the You Don’t Know Jack About MS ™ campaign, in partnership with Teva Neuroscience, to show people that, while relapsing-remitting MS is a major part of my life, it doesn’t control my life. I want to change the way people think and talk about MS.”
The site not only has fun facts about Jack himself, but also a self-help quiz about MS and some important information about support systems available to people with the illness.
There’s a great section about Myths and Realities about MS, including the issues about pain, age, mercury fillings, aspartame and all the things everyone newly diagnosed with MS hears about and has trouble sorting through.
It’s not his nature to slow down, even with MS, and this is one way he is coping with it. He’s gone on “Dancing with the Stars” and climbed mountains and continues to be in the public eye, but this is his most important calling to date.
“I’m the type of person who likes to push the envelope and test my limits, but I also make sure I take breaks and manage stress,” he explains on the site. “Whether it’s doing yoga for the first time or trying something like competitive dancing, I like giving new things a go.”
He admits that he was depressed and feeling very alone at first. “At first, it was really frustrating because I didn’t know anyone my age with the disease,” he says. “But then I learned most people are diagnosed with MS between the ages of 20 and 50. I also found that most people with MS do not become significantly disabled. In fact, two-thirds remain able to walk. Most importantly, I realized that MS is not considered a fatal disease. The vast majority of people with MS live a normal lifespan.”
And once again, he proves, that even those who think they know plenty, “You Don’t Know Jack about MS” and he’s out to change that.