Former Massachusetts First Lady Ann Romney, global ambassador for Boston’s Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, will deliver a keynote address at the Biotechnology Innovation Organization’s (BIO) International Convention in San Diego.
Romney, who is scheduled to speak June 21, will talk about how her multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosis nearly 20 years ago challenged her self-identity, and about the difficulties of finding the right treatment. Romney is the wife of U.S. businessman and politician Mitt Romney, who unsuccessfully ran for president in 2012 on the Republican ticket. From 2003 to 2007, Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts.
Despite her MS diagnosis, Romney, 68, is an accomplished equestrian. She also has five children and 23 grandchildren, and is a board member of the New England chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
The Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital represents a collaborative effort to find treatments, prevention and cures for five of the world’s most complex neurological diseases: MS, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and brain tumors.
“Ann Romney embodies the ‘breakthrough’ theme of this year’s BIO International Convention through her persistence in the face of adversity and her determination to reclaim her health,” BIO President and CEO Jim Greenwood said in a news release. “Mrs. Romney’s compelling personal story and her vision as a global ambassador for brain health research reflect the cornerstone of our convention programming designed to inspire and educate biotechnology leaders.”
Only few years ago, those affected with MS had limited treatments options; but now, the 400,000 Americans with the disease have various therapeutic options that can help them manage their MS symptoms, such as muscular spasms and problems with weakness, fatigue and depression.
In sharing her vision behind the center, Romney will talk about the challenges faced by the research and medical community in preventing diseases, identifying novel therapies and finding cures for neurological conditions.