October 20th, 2012
08:53 PM ET
5 years ago

Ann Romney shares her MS story with supporters in Florida

(CNN) - Ann Romney opened up about her struggles with multiple sclerosis while speaking Saturday with patrons at a restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The wife of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney shared some of her personal experiences when she met a woman who also suffers from the nervous system disease.

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"It was really tough on my balance," Romney said. "I couldn't figure out what was going on. That was sort of what was happening. I was trying to figure out what was going on, what was wrong with me."

Romney said she used to play tennis, but "when I got really sick I stopped playing so much."

"I was very coordinated and athletic, and all of a sudden I'm falling and tripping and losing my balance. And being so weak," she said. "And I was like, 'Something's wrong!'"

Romney, 63, is a survivor of both MS and breast cancer.

She was diagnosed with MS in 1998, and said in an interview with CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger this summer that her husband was an important part of her efforts to regain control of her life.

"Even when I was as sick as that he would curl up in the bed with me," she said. "It was like he was gonna do anything he could do just to say, 'I'm here. You're OK. Just stay right there, and we'll be OK.'"

Mitt Romney also described the couple's meeting with a neurologist after Ann's symptoms became serious.

"It was very clear that she was flunking the examination. She couldn't stand on her right foot without falling over and things like that. (The doctor) stepped out and she began to cry and I welled up tears as well and we hugged each other, and she said, 'Something is terribly wrong,' and I said, 'Yes, but Ann, we can go through anything so long as it's not fatal,'" he recalled.

Ann Romney has said MS and breast cancer would be two of her priorities as first lady if her husband is elected.

Later Saturday, Ann Romney attended a campaign rally in Boca Raton, where her husband and President Barack Obama will meet Monday night in the final presidential debate.

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Filed under: 2012 • Ann Romney • Florida
soundoff (196 Responses)
  1. Name

    Dear Ann Romney,

    I'm sorry that you have this disease. I wouldn't wish it on anyone, but enough with the self pity. This election is about the US economy and the America people, not you.

    October 20, 2012 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  2. Reality Check

    Ann Romney has said MS and breast cancer would be two of her priorities as first lady if her husband is elected. Did she promise affordable healthcare and protection for those with pre-existing conditions or a horse for everyone.

    October 20, 2012 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  3. Disqusar

    With her kind of money, made by throwing American jobs to China, anyone could afford the best of medicine !!

    And look, as she never worked one day of her life, she mentions how she misses playing tennis.......as if everyone plays tennis, as if everybody has time to play tennis because the maid cooks the food, the housekeeper cleans the house, the tutor teaches the kids, and....the money keeps rolling into the bank !!

    October 20, 2012 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  4. no


    So quit trying to make her look all pathetic and pitiful.

    As for other HUMANS who have multiple sclerosis, I do care about them and I wish them well.

    October 20, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  5. Hmmm

    How desperate can the Republicans get that they are trying to trade sympathy for votes?

    October 20, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  6. Name Bonnie Burkley

    I, to, have M.S. for 32yrs. I have prayed for Mrs.Romney,as she takes on the rigorous campaign trail! I am 65 now and am concerned about health care!

    October 20, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  7. ggirl

    last ditch effort.....

    October 20, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  8. s.b.

    Ann, you are an inspiration to me. the love between you and Mitt is a love that doesn't come along every day..it is an eternal love, and i'm so happy that the two of you have each other as a support system!

    October 20, 2012 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  9. MaraviLLa

    🇺🇸M. Romney – Ann Romney 2012 🇺🇸

    God bless you! Your story is very touching.

    Hope to see you in the white house soon...

    October 20, 2012 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  10. AaronT3

    At least she has healthcare and Insurance Companies cannot turn her away for a preexisting condition.

    October 20, 2012 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  11. Name Ray

    Who cares about her MS... At least she gets 1st rate medical help because of her husband. Other Hardworking Americans don't get the same treatment. Not bashing her, however, she is not a working Mom, like most women, she had Nannys do most of her child raising. Don't get fooled by her attempt to help her hubby get elected by seeking sympathy votes. The Rommeys don't deserve it.

    October 20, 2012 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  12. Odo

    Ann also thinks that her sons proselytizing is the same as serving in the military. That is just offensive.

    October 20, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  13. Peter

    If you develop MS or breast cancer, wouldn't it be nice if you have access to the best medical care that money can buy? If you don't have millions in the bank, wouldn't it be nice to have good health insurance? Wouldn't it be nice if having such a diagnosis didn't mean you could no longer find health insurance?

    October 20, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  14. Dale

    Great story, but what about all those who have it and can't afford the coverage that Anne had. I feel for her and her struggles, but timing of this plays no political strings with me.......i see right through it and hopefully all American's can get the same affordable treatment as she did or afford the treatment of the best doctors that she could afford......

    October 20, 2012 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  15. Susan

    What an inspirng story. Its too bad Ann Romney is willing to see others with similiar health issues have to struggle with insurance benefits and pre-existing conditions under her huband's intended repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordability Act. Although Ann had the benefit of wealth to ensure superior health care others are not in the same position.

    October 21, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  16. sheepguts68

    Ann Romney is a classy lady.

    October 21, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  17. mary

    I have to say.. When i hear of her story..
    What about all the people in the United States that are not rich like her.. Who can not afford medical care, that suffer every day..
    Obama puts together obamacare to help those like me that can not affford insurance anymore..
    I had a stroke in my 40's and I had to keep working ot keep insurance.. AS it went up, I kept taking more and more work to afford it.. The work was killing me , emotionally and physically... But finally the insurance became more than i could afford .. Until I jsut had to give it up..
    I was terrified , Missed tests.Medicine's .. Becasue I couldn't afford them anymore..
    How shameful .. How horribly cruel.
    So. Ms Romney ahs MS..?
    She has the best medical care money can by..I admire the people who can't get medical care , who suffer ..
    NOT HER..

    October 21, 2012 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  18. Former Republican, now an Independent

    It is unfortunate that Ann Romney is battling MS and a shame that her husband doesn't feel every human being should be able to have the health care that their family enjoys. It is the belief and intent of the current day republican party that for those less privileged Americans, they are only entitled to the amount of care they can afford. With health care rising at 4 times the rate of inflation since the year 2000, for many American families, that is very limited. That is why America needs the Affordable Care Act.

    October 21, 2012 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  19. Joshua Ludd

    .. and terrible as that is, she never had to worry for even one second if she would be able to pay for all the best treatments. She never had to worry about being able to feed her family because she was too sick to work and lost her job. In short, she grew up rich, married richer, and ended up even richer than that. Its terrible that she has dealt with serious illness, but lets be clear.. most other people who get seriously ill don't have all the advantages she has had... and her husband wants to help dismantle the meager steps we have made to help others keep their health and treat any illnesses they have.

    October 21, 2012 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  20. yuki

    A few months ago my brother commented that Ann Romney and I had a lot in common given that we both have MS. It's true that we both have the same diagnosis, but her husband has vowed to repeal the one bit of legislation that will allow me access to the doctors and meds that Ms. Romney will continue to benefit from, with or without the ACA. I don't see Ms. Romney as a compatriot MS sufferer given the disparity in access to healthcare and I find Mr. Romney's vow to repeal healthcare all the more disturbing given his experience with chronic disease and apparent lack of concern for those who lack insurance.

    October 21, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  21. jean

    So, MS and breast cancer would be two of Ann's priorities, but let's make sure that not everyone has access to diagnosis and treatment. I wonder if Mitt believes these two diseases can be treated in emergency rooms.

    October 21, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  22. John Doe

    It's very cheap to use sympathy as a factor for winning elections for Romney. Ann- it sounds very desperate.,,,too cheapt

    October 21, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  23. Krehator

    Trying for pity votes. How low can you go?

    October 21, 2012 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  24. kathleen archambault

    I am wishing Ann Romney nothing but success in waging her health battles. Luckily she has the resources to help her feel somewhat secure that she will be able to command the best of services in that fight. And with luck she will win. Many others don't have those resources and feel a greater sense of financial and physical vulnerability when they face such a situation. I believe that we cannot mistake Ann Romney's situaiton and the sympathy we have for her with the greater issue at hand - the election. Mitt Romney may have compassion for his wife but he does not have the best interest of all Americans at heart. He is basically someone who panders to the interest of the advantaged. I am voting for Barack Obama and urge everyone who is not so financially secure as Ann and Mitt Romney to realize that the health care act helps most other people feel that they can receive medical care without sacrificing everything they have worked for. I urge everyone to vote for Pesident Obama in the upcoming election.

    October 21, 2012 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  25. Ft mills

    That story again?! Really
    How dumb do we have to be. I'm not into sympathy votes or is it the female vote that we're listening to how brave she is
    Can't help but to be cynical. The romneys are just a sneaky bunch

    October 21, 2012 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
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