Personal Connections to MS
In October of 2002, actress and comedienne Teri Garr made it public that she has MS. After years of uncertainty and secrecy surrounding her diagnosis, Teri explained her reasons for deciding to share her private battle with the world, "I'm telling my story for the first time, so I can help people. I can help people know they aren't alone, and tell them there are reasons to be optimistic because today treatment options are available."
Since Garr announced publicly that she had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, she has become a leading advocate in raising awareness for MS and the latest treatments for the disease.
She is actively involved with the National MS Society and the MS community, and travels across the United States speaking about her experiences living with MS, empowering others with MS to educate themselves about the disease and to seek treatment early.
In 2004, Teri Garr accepted the role of National Chair for the Society's Women Against MS program. Women Against MS (WAMS) is a nationwide education and fundraising program that helps to increase the public's awareness of MS and the National MS Society while acknowledging and encouraging the advancement of women philanthropists.
Since taking on her responsibilities as Chair of the WAMS program, Teri has already spoken at more than a dozen chapters and has made commitments to speak at the Maine, Allegheny District, Central Pennsylvania, Greater Delaware Valley, Delaware, Utah, and Louisiana Chapters before the end of the year.
Since going public with her MS, Garr has been an important personage at the Society's National Conferences and in recognition of her efforts to raise awareness for MS, the National MS Society presented her with its Shining Star Award in 2002. This was only the second time in the Society's 59-year history that the award has been given; the previous recipient being actor Annette Funicello. In 2003 she was awarded "Champion of the Arts Award" at the New York City Chapter's Dinner of Champions.
Garr is currently an Ambassador for MS LifeLines— an educational and support service program offered by Serono, Inc. and Pfizer Inc. for people living with MS and their families.
Born into a show business family, Garr became established in television in the 70s with appearances on Star Trek, It Takes a Thief, McCloud, and as a regular on The Sonny and Cher Show as Cher's friend Olivia. Garr was also endeared as Phoebe's birth mother on the now syndicated NBC hit show Friends. Teri has risen to become one of Hollywood's most versatile, energetic, and well-recognized actresses, starring in many memorable films including Young Frankenstein, Mr. Mom, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Tootsie, for which she was nominated for an Oscar.
Teri lives in California with her daughter. Her autobiography, Speedbumps: Flooring It Through Hollywood, was released in the fall of 2005.
"I'm telling my story for the first time, so I can help people.
I can help people know they aren't alone, and tell them there are reasons to be optimistic because today treatment options are available."
Teri Garr honored as the Society’s Ambassador of the Year for her commitment to raising awareness for the MS cause. This honor has been given only four previous times since the Society was founded.
Teri Garr is named first National Chair of
National MS Society's Women Against MS (WAMS) Program.
Teri Garr, left, accepts a commemerative plate at a WAMS luncheon
Teri Garr receives National MS Society's Shining Star Award for her courage and conviction in support of the MS cause.