Like the rest of the family, Marie Osmond‘s nephew David Osmond grew up loving music. But his talent wasn’t the only thing passed down from his father, Alan Osmond. Like his dad, David also has multiple sclerosis — a debilitating disease in which the immune system eats away at the central nervous system.
“I remember as a kid when my dad told us that he had something called MS,” the “Loneliest Walk” singer, 39, shared with Yahoo Lifestyle when discussing the first experience he had with his father’s diagnosis. Before they knew it, Alan’s health was deteriorating quickly, causing him to strip and fall at any moment. “We saw him start to decline physically,” David said. “It was hard to see.”
As if dealing with his father’s diagnosis wasn’t enough, David was diagnosed with MS nearly 13 years ago when he was just 26 years old. “I took my shoes off and I turned to my girlfriend. I said, ‘My feet feel like they’re being run over by a steamroller,'” David explained. “Within a few weeks, that crushing feeling progressed up my legs. It was all the way up to my chest within a few months.”
MS can be caused by many different factors — infectious disease, immunologic factors and environmental factors just to name a few — but for David “the thought never really crossed my mind that I might have MS or that it might be genetic.”
Soon after his diagnosis, David was given a wheelchair — which he sat in as he proposed to his now-wife, Valerie McClain. “She said, ‘Yes, in sickness and in health,'” David recalled. “Her strength has helped me so much.”
Fast-forward to today, David is currently on tour with Marie, 59, and uncles Merill Osmond and Jay Osmond. Even though he’s no longer subject to a wheelchair and is living an overall easier life, the “Help Thou My Unbelief” crooner is not MS-free. “I’ll be honest, right now I’m in a massive amount of pain,” he revealed. “And it’s all over the place, but I don’t dare complain about it.”
While his battle is one that millions of people fight every day, David hopes that sharing sharing his story will help those suffering from MS feel like they aren’t fighting solo. “I hope to encourage people who are going through a struggle just to know that you’re not alone,” he gushed. “There are people who know how you feel that are behind you and fighting for you. Never give up.”
David is such an inspiring person!