It has been several years since Montel Williams graced the cover of our Spring 2009 magazine. But of course, Montel has not been sitting around during that time! This celebrity has been busy with his own health and as an advocate for others – and he was graciously willing to give us a few moments to bring us up to date.
PP: Overall, how are you feeling these days?
Williams: I am feeling absolutely incredible. I feel there has almost been a 180-degree change, which has been due to all the hard work I have put in during that time focusing on my health and dealing with it on a daily basis.
PP: When we spoke in 2009, your book Living Emotionally Well had just come out. What kind of feedback have you received, specifically from others who have MS?
Williams: I have had an overwhelming response to the book. People stop me in the airport, or whenever they see me and say, “Thank you for putting it out there. There were some things I knew, but I had to have someone put it just that way for me to really get it.”
I think the book has resonated with people because rather than retread the same old information that has been available for more than 20 or 30 years, we really hit a stride with sharing new information alongside some of the tried-and-true information in a different way.
PP: Is there another book in the works? If so, what can you share about it?
Williams: I think there is always a book in the works with me! I hope it will show that in spite of our daily predicament, no matter what is going on in our lives, we can drive and achieve and continue to flourish as long as we have the right knowledge. I think that will be the genesis of the next book, and I will be able to give people the stepping stones they need to conquer and knock down any mountain that might be standing in their way.
PP: Your foundation is almost 13 years old! What are you most proud that it’s accomplished, and where do you see the foundation’s work headed in the future?
Williams: Since we last spoke in 2009, the research that my MS organization funded has been printed and published in medical journals around the world, and it is one of the most definitive research studies done on this disease. That was no small feat and something I am very proud of.
Currently, we are proud to be forging a relationship with another MS group, MS Run the US (http://www.msruntheus.com), which is a phenomenal organization run by a young woman, Ashley Kumlien, whose mother has been affected by the disease. They spark awareness, education and aim to raise funds for the MS community.
PP: Last year, you got the opportunity to support, Jack Osborne, another celebrity diagnosed with MS. Tell us about that experience – what did you do, and what did you learn about yourself through it.
Williams: Whenever I find out someone has been diagnosed with MS, especially someone I may know, I appreciate the ability and chance to speak to them in confidence. I share with them some of the things I have personally been through and hopefully give them some hope and impart knowledge about some of the amazing different options that are now available for dealing with the disease.
PP: What would you like to tell folks who don’t have MS about the disease that might help them to better understand what MS sufferers go through?
Williams: One of the interesting things about MS is that all of us who have been diagnosed are affected in very different ways. For people who don’t have the disease but have a loved one who is affected by it, the best thing that anyone could do is to really, really listen. While you may have a preconceived notion about what they may be struggling with, it may not be what is happening to your loved one.
While of course I am saying this in regards to MS, it really can and should be applied to all of our personal relationships. We need to stop being so busy and take the time to slowly listen.