In an interview with HELLO! Canada, which was published on Friday (September 1), Claudette Dion offered a hopeful update on her younger sister, Celine Dion – who was diagnosed with stiff person syndrome last year. At the time, she promised to work hard to return to the stage one day – and she is.
“She’s doing everything to recover. She’s a strong woman,” Claudette told the outlet. Her sister first shared the diagnosis with fans in December 2022. As a result of the symptoms, she thought it best to cancel all of her tour dates in the foreseeable future so she can focus on her health and recovery.
“It’s an illness we know so little about,” Claudette continues in the interview. “There are spasms – they’re impossible to control. You know who people often jump up in the night because of a cramp in the leg or the calf? It’s a bit like that, but in all muscles. There’s little we can do to support her, to alleviate her pain.”
While Celine Dion has stayed out of the public eye since revealing her diagnosis nine months ago, she has received an overwhelming amount of love and support from those around her. Based in Las Vegas, Celine has been comforted by her sister, Linda, and her sister’s husband – both of whom live in Vegas.
Of course, Celine Dion has also received a lot of love and support from her fanbase. “They love Celine, not only for the voice she has, but also for the human being she is. For the woman she has become, for the mother she has become,” Claudette said of Celine’s fanbase. “We love her for the person she is.”
As she continues to fight this debilitating disease, her family – as well as Celine, herself – are crossing their fingers ‘that researchers will find a remedy for this awful illness.’ As of right now, there is no known cure for the disease, but there are treatments to help minimize the symptoms and slow the disease down.
This isn’t the first time Claudette Dion has offered an update on her sister. She also spoke with Le Journal de Montreal last month and emphasized that her sister is ‘working hard’ as she continues to study and learn ‘from the world’s best doctors specialized in this rare disease.’ Celine isn’t giving up without a fight.
More About the Disease Celine Dion is Battling
Stiff Person Syndrome (SPS) is a rare ‘autoimmune and neurological disorder that can make the muscles in the torso and limbs alternate between rigidity and spasms,’ according to Yale Medicine. Since people with SPS run the spectrum from mild to severe, a personalized approach is necessary for all patients.
There is no known cure for SPS and researchers are still trying to find a direct cause for the disease, but they have linked it to an autoimmune reaction where the immune system attacks a protein called glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) – which is responsible for producing gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).
The two primary symptoms of SPS are ‘muscle stiffening in the torso and limbs, along with episodes of violent muscle spasms.’ These spasms can originate in the back, stomach, legs, feet, arms, hands, head, neck, and anywhere else throughout the body – they are often triggered by environmental stimuli.
Celine Dion has been experiencing symptoms for quite some time now, but she didn’t enlighten fans of her diagnosis until it started to affect her performances – which is why she canceled her remaining Courage tour dates. She hopes to return to the stage at some point in the future, once she feels ready.
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