This weekend Carnie Wilson of Wilson Phillips, Celebrity Fit Club, and Celebrity Wife Swap fame announced on Twitter that she is battling Bell’s palsy. With that one tweet she not only let the world in on her personal challenge but she also helped raise awareness for a condition that not many of her followers (myself included) had ever heard of. According to Web MD, Bell’s palsy is a type of paralysis (or weakness) of the muscles in the face thought to be due to inflammation of the seventh cranial nerve also known as the facial nerve.
When a public figure opens up about private health issues they do an incredible service of raising awareness. Many celebrities reveal intimate health battles to let their fans know that their appearance may alter or that they may be taking a break from work. Some step into the spotlight for the simple altruistic reason of helping others.
Once upon a time it was considered taboo for stars to talk about their personal lives, much less their personal health. Celebrities were incredibly tight lipped and private about what ailed them for fear of being blacklisted for work. The AARP credits John Wayne with being the trailblazer in Hollywood public relations for going public with his battle with lung cancer in 1964.
Since then stars and celebrities have used their spotlight to raise awareness for health problems. By doing so they have saved countless lives in numerous ways by encouraging early testing to rallying for donations for cutting edge research.
Have you been inspired to action by a celebrity’s health battle?