Christina Applegate walks SAG Awards red carpet with cane: What is multiple sclerosis?
Christina Applegate made a poignant appearance at the 2023 SAG Awards (Screen Actors Guild Awards) arriving at the event with a cane that read: “FU MS” after revealing she is living with multiple sclerosis (MS).
On Sunday 26 February, the Dead to Me star, 51, attended the 29th annual awards hand-in-hand with her daughter, Sadie Grace.
For the occasion, the mother-daughter duo matched, with Applegate wearing a black floor-length velvet tuxedo dress with oversized satin lapels, while her daughter also wore a black suit, which she paired with a black beret.
The Bad Moms actor completed her look with a black cane, which she accessorised with white stickers, including one that read: “FU MS.”
It was the star's first red carpet appearance since hinting that she could be retiring from acting due to her ongoing condition.
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Applegate originally shared news of her diagnosis in August 2021 via Twitter, but has since spoken openly about her struggles with the autoimmune condition.
Earlier this month, she told the Los Angeles Times that it would likely be her "last awards show as an actor probably" due to her diagnosis with multiple sclerosis, adding "so. it's kind of a big deal".
She also explained that she'll likely be scaling back her acting, saying: "Right now, I couldn’t imagine getting up at 5am and spending 12 to 14 hours on a set; I don’t have that in me at this moment."
Last year, Applegate discussed how her life had been impacted since her diagnosis, explaining she had seen a 40lb weight gain and now struggles to walk without the support of a cane.
The NHS says the lifelong condition MS can affect the brain and spinal cord, causing a wide range of potential symptoms, including problems with vision, arm or leg movement, sensation or balance.
In a recent interview, Applegate revealed how production on the final season of Dead To Me paused for five months following her diagnosis and she went on to share some of the impacts her illness caused when filming resumed.
"This is the first time anyone's going to see me the way I am," she told The New York Times. "I put on 40 pounds; I can't walk without a cane. I want people to know that I am very aware of all of that."
The Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead star also revealed how she wished she had “paid attention” more to the signs she might have the condition in the years leading up to her official diagnosis, including a tingling and numbness in her extremities.
Read more: What is multiple sclerosis? Selma Blair reveals 'incurable' MS diagnosis
Applegate isn't the only celebrity to share her experiences of living with the condition, fellow actor Selma Blair has also discussed how her life has been affected by the disease, which she was diagnosed with in August 2018.
She has also regularly appeared on the red carpet with a cane including at the Oscars, where she brandished a diamond-encrusted cane.
Speaking about when she was first diagnosed after years of struggling to understand her condition, Blair said she had “tears of relief”.
“I had tears. They weren’t tears of panic, they were tears of knowing that I now had to give in to a body that had loss of control and there was some relief in that.
“Ever since my son was born, I was in an MS flare-up and didn’t know, and I was giving it everything to seem normal.
“And I was self-medicating when he wasn’t with me. I was drinking. I was in pain. I wasn’t always drinking, but there were times when I couldn’t take it.”
Watch: Christina Applegate hints at retirement from acting
What is multiple sclerosis?
MS is a lifelong autoimmune condition that affects the brain and the spinal cord, causing a wide range of symptoms that vary from person to person.
Depending on the severity, MS can be debilitating, leading to problems with vision, balance and movement.
The MS Society estimates there are over 130,000 people with MS in the UK, and that nearly 7,000 people are newly diagnosed each year.
While it is most commonly diagnosed in people in their 20s, 30s and 40s, it can develop at any age and is more common in women than men.
As well as Christina Applegate, other celebrities living with the condition include Jack Osbourne and Selma Blair, who was diagnosed in August 2018.
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Symptoms of MS
The symptoms of MS vary widely for each sufferer and can affect any part of the body.
The main symptoms include:
vision problems, such as blurred vision
problems controlling the bladder
numbness or tingling in different parts of the body
muscle stiffness and spasms
problems with balance and co-ordination
problems with thinking, learning and planning
If you're worried you might have signs of MS, you should see your GP.
Remember, however, that your symptoms could have many other possible causes, so they're not necessarily a sign of MS.
If your doctor suspects you could have MS, you'll be referred to a specialist in conditions of the nervous system (a neurologist).
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Treatment of MS
While there is no cure for the condition, MS can be treated and managed with various treatments, which may include:
treating relapses with short courses of steroid medicine to speed up recovery
specific treatments for individual MS symptoms
treatment to reduce the number of relapses using medicines called disease-modifying therapies
For more help and information
There are two main MS charities in the UK, which can offer support and advice:
There's also the shift.ms website, an online community for younger people affected by MS.