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Dance show finalist divulges MS diagnosis

A finalist from the television show “So You Think You Can Dance” has announced she has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Courtney Galiano from Dix Hills, N.Y., competed in the dance show’s fourth season and went on to perform in the live tour, as well as appearing in various television and movie roles.

Galiano, 23, told Newsday that during the season-seven tour, she began suffering from leg numbness.

“I thought I had herniated a disc or pinched a nerve, so I kind of ignored it,” Galiano told the site. “I didn't want to be taken off the tour, and I'm a dancer -- I beat up my body for a living. It's nothing. Then it lasted till about March, and when I touched my chin to my chest, I felt this electricity thing.”

The ‘electric’ feeling is called “Lhermitte’s sign,” and it is one of the symptoms of MS.  MS is a progressive neurological disease that has no cure, but there are treatments available.  It can be hard to diagnose because the symptoms are associated with many other diseases as well.

Galiano hopes to raise awareness for MS by making her diagnosis public and setting aside a portion of registration fees for her dance workshop, The Beat, for a foundation she and her brother created – The Beat MS.

In the mean time, she plans to keep dancing professionally for as long as she can.

"My doctor at [Weill] Cornell [Medical College], Dr. Susan Gauthier, is absolutely unbelievable and says the best thing I can do is to keep dancing,” she told Newsday.  “I have no choice but to be optimistic and positive."

Click here to read more from Newsday.