A model has shared her struggles with MS after the debilitating condition caused her to suffer from four heart attacks in a single year.
Camerone Parker had begun suffering from fatigue, muscle weakness, chronic pain and her vision had started to blur during the prime of her modelling career before being diagnosed with MS in January 1998.
The now 55-year-old beauty accidentally 'fell into modelling' when she was just 23.
Throughout the years she has been featured in advertisements, features and editorials in over 400 magazines around the world – including being the former face of popular moisturiser company, Olay.
But her world changed entirely upon her MS diagnosis.
"How could this happen? How DID this happen? My doctor truly had no answers for me," she told the Daily Star.
"Multiple sclerosis is both an autoimmune AND a neurological disease. No two patients are alike. My doctor went into great detail about relapsing-remitting MS – and what RRMS meant to me.
"Prior symptoms I had excuses for was actually MS in “relapse”. Relapse can last anywhere from a week to several months. Our goals from that day forward were to keep the disease in ‘remission’ with the help of a powerful drug-therapy prescription."
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The model from Arizona, US also said her diagnosis had to be an 'absolute secret' as in her industry she wasn't medically insured and her new diagnosis took away an option for private insurance.
Her prescribed drug therapy alone was $65,000 a year, every year for the rest of her life.
The only way she could afford it was to keep working so she hatched a plan with doctors to keep the 'beauty industry's biggest secret.'
Wherever Camerone was sent on modelling assignments, her doctor arranged treatment there.
A car would collect her from her hotel at 2am and took her to the nearest hospital, where she had her blood work and infusion done before returning unnoticed.
For years the plan to keep things under wraps had been working, until 2019. The beauty had just dazzled at the Dior SS20 show in Paris Fashion Week a few days prior to the world finding out she had survived her first heart attack that required life-saving surgery.
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She said: "In its 11-month aftermath, my heart has stopped beating on four different occasions.
"Maintaining my composure in the face of such devastation has not been easy. I am dealing with the traumatic aftermath every day."
However, in the face of all of her struggles, Parker perseveres on her 'mission to make something good' as she brings a spotlight to her condition as she pens her first book about it, titled A Model Patient.
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She explained: "Multiple sclerosis has changed my life. My four heart attacks have nearly killed me. Both have seriously tripped me up. A heart-halting hug that I couldn’t escape.
"MS and heart failure has caused me profound pain, yet through it, all, surviving both of these has taught me how to fight and to fight for others. This isn’t about me, there is only we. We make a difference and survive together."
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