The Greater Delaware Valley Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society held its 2013 Annual Meeting on Thursday night in Philadelphia, and featured actress, comedian, writer/producer Rain Pryor as the keynote speaker. Pryor is the middle child of the late comedian Richard Pryor, who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1986 and succumbed to the disease in December 2005.
Merging humor with true life experiences during her address, Pryor recalled the pivotal moment when her father's illness became real for her. "Me, him and his girlfriend were driving down the highway going 60 mph and my dad (the driver) starts yelling 'I can't feel my leg.' Luckily his girlfriend put her foot over to the driver's side and stepped on the brake." Pryor recalls them handling the stress of that situation with laughter, but said that moment from her teen years stuck with her.
"We really believed in the Pryor family that denial was the river in Egypt", she joked but added "denial is a word that can sometimes separate us from the solutions to keep our lives going." She went on to encourage attendees, especially caretakers of those living with MS, to realistically confront challenges by sharing and discussing with others and to also take great care of themselves.
Pryor noted that when she's asked why she continues to advocate for MS, especially after the loss of her father, she says "because I need to help, and somehow I know by raising money there is a cure. And because I know that MS needs a voice. It's not something we have to keep silent."
The Annual Meeting this year also honored several members of the local chapter, including famed journalist Larry Kane, with Trustee Emeritus status and created a fellowship in their name to assist persons living with MS. For more information about the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and to find out more about the disease and how to volunteer, visit its website at www.nationalmssociety.org. To get additional information about Rain Pryor visit www.rainpryor.com.