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In 2009, came more awards – BET's 2009 Life Time Achievement Award. 2010 was the year when Walter Williams finally decided to tell the world that he had multiple sclerosis. He chose World MS Day to share that he had been living with MS for more than 25 years.
Walter's first symptoms came in 1983 while he was on tour. His felt numbness in both his legs and torso. It took two months and several different doctors before he was finally diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. He was frightened with the diagnosis, and felt “really down for the first 3-4 weeks then I got angry and decided I was going to fight back.”
Back then, there were no treatments available, so he continued to do what he loved doing, performing with the group, “The O'Jays”. He was not exempt from the effects of MS, however, and in 1999 he had a severe relapse. By then, there were a few treatment options available, which he found out after talking to his doctor.
He decided on Avonex (interferon beta 1-a), the once a month disease modifying therapy. Since he began taking it, he has not suffered anymore relapses. He has since been on several world tours, and recorded the album, “Imagination” under the Music World label. He, along with the other members of the group, will also begin writing a book soon.
The O'Jays have been performing for over 50 years now and are still performing at live concerts around the world. Their career has an impressive number of Gold Albums (10), 9 of which went Platinum. They have also had 10 #1 hits. Walter and Eddie Levert have remained lifelong friends. Their relationship which started way back when Eddie was 7 and Walter was 6 has helped to only strengthen their business dealings as well.
The O'Jays (Link opens a new window). You can also find the dates of their tours this year and the beginning on next.