Friday, May 30, 2008

Rain Pryor Continues Her Father's Legacy

More Information About MS

More Information About Pryor Experience


Even in death, Richard Pryor is considered a comedic icon. Now, three years after losing his battle with multiple sclerosis, his daughter is continuing her father's legacy.

Healthwatch reporter Kellye Lynn reports Rain Pryor is an actress, comedienne, author and singer who for years has been sharing her talents with audiences around the world. In June, she will perform at the Hippodrome to raise money in the fight against MS.

At 38, Rain Pryor finally has her life where she wants it. She's comfortable with whom she is, where she is professionally and personally.

"I have a family here that's amazing and brilliant and a whole life that is so calm and so much of who I truly am," said Pryor.

Nearly two years ago, Rain packed up and headed east for a fresh start in Baltimore. That's a stark contrast to her roller coaster upbringing in Hollywood.

Raised by her former go-go dancer mom and Jewish grandparents, Rain didn't meet her legendary father until she was four. It was at times a rocky relationship. Then in 1986, two years after she first appeared in the television series "Head of the Class," her father got the life-altering diagnosis. It was multiple sclerosis.

"How he discovered MS is he got terrible, terrible headaches," said Pryor.

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, inflammatory disease that affects about 400,000 Americans. In MS, the immune cells attack the outer covering of the nerves, leaving sufferers with tingling, numbness, loss of strength, dizziness, fatigue and double vision.

"The problem with MS is that one's immune system is overactivated and it's activated against the nervous system," said Dr. Walter Royal, University of Maryland Medical Center.

Dr. Walter Royal is a researcher at the Maryland Center for MS. He explains there is no cure for the disease and current drugs are only effective in a third of patients. Scientists in Baltimore are working to develop new drugs and to explore the potential of therapies like Vitamin D.

"People who live in areas where Vitamin D intake is low may be at higher risk of multiple sclerosis," said Dr. Royal.

Since her father's near 20-year struggle with MS ended in 2005, Rain has accepted that call. She uses her celebrity to help researchers get closer to a cure.

"Anytime I walk into a room and see someone with MS, I'm affected by it. I know what their kids are going through, I know what their caretaker is going through. So it's a journey that has to continue and needs a voice," said Pryor.

Rain performs June 6 at the Hippodrome Theatre to raise money for MS research. Her jazz cabaret show is called "Pryor Experience."

Rain just gave birth to a beautiful daughter named Lotus in April. Mother and baby are doing just fine.

(© MMVIII, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)


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