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Disease Impaired

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LIFE GOES ON/ABC/1989 (Down Syndrome)
*(Chris Burke/costar) Charles "Corky" Thatcher, a likable and valiant 18-year-old male with Down's Syndrome. The series focused on the trials and tribulations of his family and school life when he was mainstreamed with his younger sister, Becca who was embarrassed at being in the same grade as her brother. In 1997 Chris became a recurring character on TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL/CBS/1994-2003 as an angel with Down Syndrome. For more on Chris Burke read his 1991 autobiography written with Jo Beth McDaniel entitled "A Special Kind Of Hero."

MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE/FOX/2000-2006 (Asthmatic)
**(Craig Lamar Traylor) Stevie Kenarben, an asthmatic black boy in a wheelchair who attends a special class for gifted kids (high IQ’s)with friend Malcolm (the show’s featured actor). When Stevie speaks, his breathing is labored and his delivery is slow but clear. On the “Sleepover” Episode No.11, Stevie invites Malcolm over for a sleepover, and the two sneak out to a late-night games arcade (“You‘d be surprised how hard it is to get a wheelchair through a window”), where Stevie’s wheelchair is stolen (Malcolm ends up pushing Stevie around in a shopping cart). Gary Anthony Williams and Merrin Dungey appear as Mr. & Mrs. Kenarben, Stevie’s extremely overprotective parents. Another handicapped person on the program is a military school officer named Commandant Edwin Spangler. He is missing his right hand, has a patch over his left eye and a bum leg.

NASH BRIDGES/CBS/1996-2001 (Alzheimer's & Epilepsy)
**(James Gammon) Nick Bridges, father of San Francisco police inspector Nash Bridges who keeps getting kicked out of retirement homes and dropping by to visit his son. Nick is afflicted with Alzheimer's Disease.

**(Cress Williams) Antwon Babcock, black police detective assigned to the SIU division of the San Francisco Police Department. His character was introduced in the fall 2000 season. On the episode NO. 617 "Blood Bots' (aired 3/30/01) Antwon accompanied a group of officers to a warehouse to find a techno geek whose robot robbed a convenience store and killed the clerk on duty. While busting into a warehouse, a rigged strobe light designed to blind the officers to booby traps, flashed brightly in the officers eyes. Immediately Detective Babcock retreated from the scene saying: "I gotta get out of here." Later, one of his fellow officers (Det. Dominguez) discretely noted that Antwon's actions reflected someone who exhibited signs of epilepsy.

NIGHT COURT/NBC/1984-92 (Diabetic)
**(Marsha Warfield) Roz Russell, a tough, but quiet black court bailiff working in a New York City night court. On a December 1987 episode, Roz discovered she had diabetes and didn't like the idea of having to inject herself with insulin to stay alive. She later had an attack of low-blood sugar, began to act incoherently, and almost fell off the roof of the court house. Other physically challenged characters included Daniel Frishman as Vincent Daniels, a dwarf city official who supervised Assistant. D.A. Dan Fielding (John Larrouquette) who constantly made jokes about his bosses lack of height; S. Marc Jordan as Jack Griffin, the blind operator of the courthouse newspaper stand in the cafeteria; and Elayne Boosler as Joy Buscallia, the blind love interest of sighted court Bailiff, Bull Shannon. Joy could touch typed 60 wpm and Xerox with the lid up. Joy had gone blind four years earlier. Being blinded had mellowed Joy's normally mean disposition, but not by much.

THE PRETENDER/NBC/1996-2000 (Emphysema)
**(Richard Marcus) Mr. Raines, a sinister head of a clandestine think-tank called The Centre. Mr. Raines breaths through plastic tubing that carries oxygen from a small canister which he wheels about on a cart beside him wherever he goes. He is constantly wheezing and out of breath.

RUN FOR YOUR LIFE/NBC/1965-68 (Leukemia)
*(Ben Gazzara) Paul Bryan, a lawyer with an incurable disease (Chronic Myelocytic Leukemia). As Paul Bryan put it in the pilot film "I have one of those afflictions they name after the poor fellow that discovered it." According to the programs' opening narration:
 
Doctor: I'm deeply sorry, Mr. Bryan.
Bryan: It's alright Doctor. I already knew.
Doctor: You have at least nine months left, perhaps as much as eighteen.
Bryan: The first doctor gave me from one to two years.
Doctor: I hope he's right. What are you going to do?
Bryan: Well, I have no family.  Haven't take a day off since law school. Guess I'll try to squeeze thirty years of living into one or two.
Doctor: It isn't hopeless, Mr. Bryan.  Research is being done and you'll be in good health until the last few weeks. So always let us know where you are.   

The series was based on a KRAFT SUSPENSE THEATRE episode from April 1965.

SECOND SIGHT/BBC/1999-2001 (Blurred vision, blindness)
*(Clive Owen) DCI Ross Tanner, a London-based police detective diagnosed with a degenerative condition of the retina which produces blurred vision, starlight flashes, extreme sensitivity to light, intermittent blindness and hallucinations. Tanner's Doctor diagnosed his problem as acute zonal outer occult retinopathy (AZOOR), a rare virus that makes his vision come and go as it destroys the victim's retina. Tanner's partner DI Catherine Tully (Claire Skinner) soon becomes his eyes as they investigate criminal cases for the Metropolitan Police Force. Tully sees helping Tanner as a way of getting on the fast track to promotions. So she keeps his secret and helps Tanner get through the cases, aiding him when his sight goes out on occasions. Initially, Ross did not want to admit anything was wrong with his eyes. He was a fast-rising detective with a promising career and unlike his policeman father who never advanced up the ranks, Ross was determined to make something of himself. And although a rare disease was eroding his vision, he managed to keep the problem hidden to remain head of an elite homicide squad. Tanner's awkward attempts to hide the condition distanced him from his colleagues and increasingly put his job at risk. All the while, Ross struggles with his ambition, tries to come to terms with his un-welcomed impairment while fielding a complex relationship with his ex-wife and son and a romantic entanglements with DI Tully and her eventual resignation from the unit which leaves him without an ally. Unawares of Tanner's visual difficulties, colleague DI Boyd credited Ross' frequent stumbles to alcohol.

7TH HEAVEN/WB/1996-2007 (Epilepsy)
**(Paul Johansson) Tom Harrison, former pastor at the Glenoak church. On episode No. 17 "Choices" Tom returns to the town of Glenoak to visit the Camdens. Tom was Reverend Eric Camden's assistant pastor before moving to his own congregation. Unfortunately, Tom had a secret. He had epilepsy and was ashamed to let anyone know about it. When he had a grand mal seizure in front of his new congregation he felt that he could no longer stay in the church after seeing the looks of his parishioners when he awoke. He visited with the Camdens and after a soul searching few days, he told Pastor Camden about his condition. Eventually, Tom realized he couldn't run away from his problem or his congregation and decided to return to his flock.

SPACE: ABOVE & BEYOND/FOX/1995-96 (TMJ)
**(Lanei Chapman/costar) First Lt. Vanessa Damphouse, an African American member of the 58th Squadron of the US Marine Corps assigned to battle aliens and rebel cyborgs in the year 2063. Vanessa suffers from TemporoMandibular Jaw Joint Disease (TMJ) caused by battle stress.

WEST WING/NBC/1999-2006 (Multiple Sclerosis)
*(Martin Sheen) Josiah "Jed" Bartlet, a liberal Democratic US President afflicted with Multiple Sclerosis. Only a few of his highest advisors knew of the ailment. He never informed the American public he had such an illness during the campaign. Now, that he is in the White House and under stress from domestic and international issues, his condition begins to reveal itself. On episode "17 People" (aired 4/4/01) Communications Director Tobias "Toby" Ziegler was shocked to learn of the President's secret affliction with multiple sclerosis -- and he detailed its political and legal ramifications.


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