Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Has Stephen Hawking done more harm than good for MND awareness?

When I was young and first learned of Stephen Hawking, I remember thinking, "Christ, that has got to be the worst thing that could possibly happen; thank god I don't have it, poor bastard "

Now I realise how lucky, by MND standards, he is. Not just because it hasn't killed him but because he has been blessed with a mind of genius capability. As a result, his main passion in life has not been taken from him and he has been able to achieve greatness despite MND .

I don't have a problem with this and what he has achieved is truly remarkable and should be admired by everyone.

HOWEVER, as probably the world's most prominent MND sufferer he does not represent or portray the typical experience of an MND  patient. As a result many people's perception of MND , whilst grim is not anywhere near as grim as it really is.

To my knowledge Hawking has not done any significant publicity about the illness and has reached celebrity status on the grounds of his immense intellect juxtaposed with a completely functionless body.

Stephen Hawking is often referred to or impersonated in a comic capacity in films or TV sketches and whilst they are often funny (The impressions by Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon in The Trip were hilarious), it just illustrates how misinformed people are. It would be inconceivable to make comic references to someone with terminal cancer.

He is completely at liberty to choose whether or not to promote accurate MND awareness, but choosing not to results in the continuing default perception of the disease being inaccurate.


Anonymous said...

i agree. It also doesn't portray the typical life span. I had assumed that it was more like MS when people still life a long life. Stephen Hawking almost glamourises MND with tales of marrying attractive nurses. I suppose he wants to be recognised for his ability not his disability but he could have done so much to help with research and understanding. Christine

Graham said...

Hey Steve
If you want to marry a glamourous nurse, I could always ditch the missus!!, its legal now after all.

Just a thought, perhaps not
Take Care

Manuella said...

Someone was telling me that he doesn't actually have MND he has something else?