FDR and MS [april]

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FDR and MS [april]

Post  Mira W. on Sun Apr 26, 2015 3:35 pm


"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." –Franklin D. Roosevelt

Although Franklin D. Roosevelt had been required to hide his Multiple sclerosis from the public by the Secret Service – so that he did not seem vulnerable – his memory is now thoroughly linked with his disability. As one of the most-loved presidents of the United States, F.D.R. lead his nation through WWII, and was re-elected four times – all the while dealing with the severe repercussions of his disease.

Here is FDR going to a stadium full of people. Even the simple act of going to a baseball game required a great deal of logistics and preparation.” –Presidential Library and Museum

Multiple sclerosis is a disease that causes one’s own immune system to break down the protective layers coating nerves. The damage to the nerve fibers interferes with  the flow of information both within the brain, as well as between the brain and the body. Scientists have yet to discover what exactly causes MS, as it is a result of many combined factors. Symptoms vary according to the person, but the most common physical ones include: fatigue, walking difficulties, muscle numbness and spasms, general weakness, vision problems, and even chronic pain. It is not widely known, but MS affects cognitive function as well—interferes with one’s ability to learn and remember information, organize, and focus attention. Mood swings, irritability, depressions, and episodes of uncontrollable laughing and crying are also common. Franklin was diagnosed in 1921, age 39, when he was paralyzed waist down. Some sources claim his symptoms appeared after a bout of polio. Fortunately for the nation, he didn’t seem to experience cognitive issues.

[It was] a brave struggle for FDR to move.” –Ken Burns

His strength and courage are admirable; his character is still idolized today. To pull an entire country back from the Great Depression is not something many can claim to have done, and Franklin D. Roosevelt did so while battling the symptoms of MS. He introduce the New Deal to save his nation’s economy, and later led said country to victory during WWII. FDR died in April 1945 from a cerebral hemorrhage. I think it is safe to say he is one of the most impressive figures in history.

Indeed, FDR had success in his blood, having President Theodore Roosevelt as a fifth cousin. Franklin attended both Harvard and Columbia University, after a rather unusual childhood in which he was privately tutored until the age of 14. When he was sent to a prestigious school for boys - he came from a wealthy family - he had difficulty fitting in because he wasn't athletic. After college, he became corporate lawyer until he deemed it too boring. Franklin married Eleanor Roosevelt, one of his other fifth cousins (... ew).
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Mira W.
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