A few years after Michelle Rondeau began taking medication for multiple sclerosis (MS), she and her husband, Chris, struggled to start a family. Torn between not having children and stopping MS treatments to ensure a safe pregnancy, Michelle sought the advice of Maria Houtchens, MD, her neurologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). “Dr. Houtchens said, ‘You can’t stop living your life because you have MS,’” Michelle recalls. “In that moment, she empowered me.”
Under Houtchens’ watchful eye, Michelle paused and resumed medications for years, in the hopes of healthy pregnancies. Today, she and Chris have four healthy children, ranging from ages 3 to 23, and Michelle’s disease has taken a benign course with little progression.
To show their appreciation for Houtchens’ expert care, the Rondeaus recently made their second contribution of $100,000 for MS research in BWH’s Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases. One of the center’s studies, led by Houtchens, follows women with MS during and after pregnancy.
“As a family affected by MS, we’re heartened to know the center is focused on accelerating treatments, prevention, and cures for neurologic diseases that can be so devastating,” says Rondeau. “Our hope is one day families won’t have to experience the same tough decisions that Chris and I did.”