Davis, Nancy 1958(?)-

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DAVIS, Nancy 1958(?)-


Born c. 1958 in Denver, CO; daughter of Marvin (an oil company and motion picture executive) and Barbara (a philanthropist) Davis; married second husband, Ken Rickel (an investment banker), 1994; children: Brandon, Alexander, Jason, Mariella, and Isabella. Hobbies and other interests: Skiing, tennis, karate.


Office—Nancy Davis Foundation for MS, 2121 Ave. of the Stars, Ste. 2800, Los Angeles, CA 90067. E-mail[email protected]


Nancy Davis Foundation for Multiple Sclerosis, founder and president, 1993—. Designer of Peace and Love jewelry.


Lean on Me: Ten Powerful Steps to Moving beyond Your Diagnosis and Taking Back Your Life (nonfiction), Fireside/Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2006.


Nancy Davis's life changed when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic, degenerative, and incurable neurological disease, in 1991, when she was thirty-three years old. Davis, who was accustomed to being physically active, was told that there was no hope of reversing the progress of the disease, which can produce such symptoms as loss of muscle coordination, severe fatigue, and vision problems. The doctor who diagnosed her told Davis to go to bed and stay there, and that Davis should feel fortunate that she could afford household help to care for herself and her three children. Davis chose to question her prognosis; she sought out new and alternative therapies, dedicated herself to living in a health-conscious fashion, and remained an active sportswoman. She also ended a troubled first marriage, remarried, and had two more children. Further, she established the Nancy Davis Foundation for Multiple Sclerosis, dedicated to research into the cause and cure of MS through such programs as the Center without Walls, a consortium of medical experts. The foundation raises funds with the annual Race to Erase MS and other benefits.

Davis tells the story of her fight against MS and offers advice to people with any type of chronic illness in Lean on Me: Ten Powerful Steps to Moving beyond Your Diagnosis and Taking Back Your Life. She encourages people to question their doctors, seek out a variety of medical opinions, and develop expertise on their disease, the health care system, and insurance. She also recommends bringing a loved one along to medical appointments for support and to take a proactive and holistic approach to one's health. She provides a "life-giving message" that "you are not your illness," commented a reviewer for Town & Country. WebMD contributor Denise Mann called the book "an easy-to-follow 10-step roadmap to accepting illness, facing fears, and thriving in the face of chronic disease," while a Publishers Weekly critic deemed it "a thoughtful plan for dealing with a devastating illness that should motivate others."

"You can always make a choice to make it better," Davis told Mann. "It's easy to get depressed, and I am not saying you don't have the right to feel sorry for yourself, but at the end of the day that's not going to help you. If there are things you can do today to make the quality of your life better, there is no reason not to do them."



Davis, Nancy, Lean on Me: Ten Powerful Steps to Moving beyond Your Diagnosis and Taking Back Your Life, Fireside/Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2006.


Daily Variety, April 13, 2006, Bill Higgins, "H'wood Orders a Double-Double," p. 19.

Library Journal, April 15, 2006, review of Lean on Me, p. 98.

Los Angeles Daily News, April 14, 2006, Jenny Peters, "You Can Lean on Nancy Davis."

Los Angeles Times, May 18, 1999, Mimi Avins, "Time to Get Busy: When Nancy Davis Was Diagnosed with MS, She Got to Work Lining Up Funding and Coordinating Research—in Hopes of Finding a Cure," p. E1.

Publishers Weekly, January 9, 2006, review of Lean on Me, p. 41.

Town & Country, June, 2006, "Reclaim Your Health," p. 112.

Washington Times, December 27, 2005, Christian Toto, "Medical Safety Net: Doctors and Patients Can Work As a Team," p. B1.


Nancy Davis Foundation Web site,http://www.erasems.org (September 27, 2006).

Voice of America Web site,http://www.voanews.com/ (April 4, 2006), Faiza Elmastry, "Smart Patients Get the Best Medical Treatment."

WebMD,http://www.webmd.com/ (March 27, 2006), Denise Mann, "Tackle MS with Positive Thought: Health Activist Nancy Davis Takes on Multiple Sclerosis."*

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