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Sugar House Journal

Ann Romney’s Book Signing

Nov 06, 2015 12h23 ● By Bryan Scott

By Elizabeth Suggs

On Friday, Oct. 2, the Sugar House Barnes and Noble held a book signing for Ann Romney’s new book, “In This Together.”

The book was released Sept. 29 and is a reflection on her early life, marriage and diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) in 1998. As with any book, the story centers around both positive and negative experiences of the disease and what could be done for her situation. 

Multiple sclerosis, according to WebMD, is a long-lasting disease that can affect the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves in the eyes. The disease can cause problems with vision, balance, muscle control and other functions of the body. 

The Multiple Sclerosis Foundation estimates about 400,000 people in the United States, and 2.5 million people worldwide, have multiple sclerosis, with higher rates of the disease occurring farther from the equator. 

Despite having such overwhelming support from her husband, even being said to have told her he’d be “right there to push [the wheelchair],” it didn’t make things any easier for Romney. Being without a cure and only able to have treatment, Romney described the realization as “devastating.” 

Since maintaining the disease, Romney experienced a glimmer of hope and was able to attain more energy to continue succeeding in life. 

“There’s hope,” Romney said in a Facebook video post. “Together we can fight.” 

What has helped her the most through her disease, according to Romney, was focusing on little goals to keep her body going. To really get a sense of how to control both mind and body, she focused on mind, body and faith through trial and error with multiple sclerosis.   

Later in her video, she describes the difficulties of writing her book, because of both the intimate nature of her story and how “fragile” she felt. 

“It was really quite a journey for me to write this book,” Romney said, “It took a lot of courage for me to be so honest and to share sort of my most vulnerable moments.” 

While “In This Together” is meant to shed light on her experience throughout her disease, the book isn’t just about the vulnerable moments. Romney writes of her childhood, family, LDS faith, her kids and the storybook romance between herself and Mitt.  

“[Multiple sclerosis] opened my heart to be more loving and generous,” Romney said. “It gave me a kinder heart.” 

Last year, according to the National MS Society, the Romneys opened the Ann Romney Center for Neurological Diseases, a research facility focusing on multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease and brain tumors, in Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

According to Romney, the purpose for the research facility is to push more awareness and research into multiple sclerosis, and the same could be said about her book. “In This Together” focuses on what research has been done on MS, as well as hope through experience. 

 “Multiple sclerosis was my cruelest teacher,” Romney said. “I’m grateful for the lessons that it taught me. They were unwelcome, but I am now grateful for them.”