Singer with MS has a musical message

May 3, 2009 9:05:02 AM PDT
Multiple sclerosis, a chronic disease of the central nervous system, has affected 2.5 million people in the world. Among them is an acclaimed Chicago vocalist and stage actress who is showcasing her talent to increase awareness about her disability. Holly McNeill's life is encouraging and inspirational despite her MS. Recently she released her first CD, Hope, that exemplifies her life mission.

"I teach high school theater and broadcasting," said McNeill. "I've been singing cabarets at libraries and I've also been doing speaking engagement for a drug company called Biogen Idec that makes the medicine that I take for my MS."

In 2002, after giving birth to her daughter, her life took an unexpected turn.

"I started getting some tingling feeling on my right ribcage, and when I put my hand across my ribs it was fine on this side, and then it almost felt like I'd been shot with Novocain, and it was starting to come out of, you know, being numb and then that feeling traveled down my leg," said McNeill.

Her ms makes her more tired.

"And now I have numbness on my left leg, but not complete numb, it's just slightly and on my foot," McNeill said. "Other than that it's really just the fatigue. I have very little energy and without some Starbucks coffee or any coffee or caffeine, I have a hard time getting through the day. I can't stand for long periods of time."

Her favorite song on her CD is "Help is on the Way."

"It's kind of funny; I sang it for so long in cabarets and in churches all over the Chicago area. Actually out east too at different functions and I loved it before I had MS, but it just became this wonderful musical message that speaks for me," said McNeill.

Holly will be singing the national anthem again at Grant Park Sunday for the Greater Illinois Chapter's MS walk.

"Last year when I was asked, I thought it was a wonderful honor and then when I got to Grant Park on a beautiful day last year I was overwhelmed with the masses of people all coming together for this incredible mission," said McNeill.

Holly's cd hope is available on her website. She is also performing "Old Friends" at Davenports, 1383 N. Milwaukee Ave., in Chicago.

www.davenportspianobar.com

http://cdbaby.com/cd/hollymcneill


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