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Canadian singer Celine Dion’s spirit is fighting to return to the stage, but her sister said the disease attacking her nervous system may be more than a match for her will.
A year ago, Dion canceled her tour scheduled for this year and announced she had what’s known as stiff person syndrome, a progressive neurological disease that attacks the muscles and limits mobility.
“She’s working hard, but she doesn’t have control over her muscles,” Claudette Dion, 74, who is the singer’s older sister, told the French-language publication 7jours, according to a translation in the U.K. Daily Mail.
“What breaks my heart is that she’s always been disciplined. She’s always worked hard,” she said.
She cast doubt on any return to performing, saying, “It’s true that in both our dreams and hers, the goal is to return to the stage. In what capacity? I don’t know.”
Claudette Dion said the progress of the disease is uncertain because it is so rare.
“The vocal cords are muscles, and the heart is also a muscle. This is what comes to get me. Because it’s one out of a million case, the scientists haven’t done that much research because it didn’t affect that many people,” she said.
“Some people have lost hope because it’s all illness that isn’t well known,” she said, noting that the Fondation Maman Dion, which the singer created, is flooded with messages supporting her.
“If only you knew the number of phone calls the Foundation gets about Celine! People tell us they love her and they’re praying for her. She gets so many messages, presents and blessed crucifixes,” she said.
“She listens to the great researchers studying this rare disease as much as possible,” Claudette Dion said.
“We can’t find medicine, but giving hope, I find that is important,” she said.
“I know that morally, mentally, she is strong. She is not depressed at all … she really has the joy of living. We will get through this,” Claudette Dion told the French-language Showbizz.net in October, according to the Mail.
She said her sister “wants to come back, that’s for sure.”
According to the Brain Facts, “Stiff-person syndrome (SPS) is a rare neurological disorder with features of an autoimmune disease. SPS is characterized by fluctuating muscle rigidity in the trunk and limbs and a heightened sensitivity to stimuli such as noise, touch, and emotional distress, which can set off muscle spasms.”
“People with SPS can be too disabled to walk or move, or they are afraid to leave the house because street noises, such as the sound of a horn, can trigger spasms and falls,” the site wrote, noting, “Most individuals with SPS have frequent falls and because they lack the normal defensive reflexes; injuries can be severe.”
The site said drugs can address the symptoms of the disease, but not cure the disorder.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.