Ann Romney became a household name among conservatives during the 2012 presidential campaign, but relatively few people knew the extent of her health issues, or how they would allow her to become an advocate for those dealing with a neurological disease.
Romney, whose husband Mitt was the Republican presidential nominee, will visit BYU for a a Q&A session and a book signing event on Thursday, Oct. 1.
The Q&A session will be held in the Wilkinson Student Center Terrace from 6-6:30 p.m. and will be followed by a signing event for her new book, “In this Together,” which will be published Sept. 29.
The book signing will take place from 6:30-8:30 pm in the WSC Garden Court. Students and the public are invited to attend, and are encouraged to come early, as seats are expected to fill quickly. According to Romney’s book tour page on Facebook, over 600 people have already said that they will be attending the event.
“I’m thrilled to return to the BYU campus to share my new book with you while supporting research that has the potential to provide new hope for the more than 50 million people worldwide who suffer from multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, Parkinson’s disease, and brain tumors,” said Romney in a press release. “With all the blessings I’ve had, MS has been my greatest teacher: It has taught me about faith, compassion and serving others. In sharing my story, I want to give others hope as I’ve been given hope on this journey.”
Romney, who has from multiple sclerosis, became a prominent figure in politics during her husband’s campaign, but has developed a following in her own right as an advocate for patients who deal with neurological diseases.
She was influential in starting the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Disease at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. The Ann Romney Center seeks to accelerate treatment, prevention and cures for these complex conditions.
Romney hopes her book will help highlight her journey from patient to advocate and bring awareness for the challenges patients face, according to Romney family spokesperson Leah Malone. All proceeds from her book will be donated to the Ann Romney Center to assist with research.
Romney will be one of the several prominent women scheduled to visit campus this semester. BYU’s Women Services and Resources will host guests from various fields, hoping to inspire students and teach them that there are no limits to what they can accomplish, said director Tiffany Turley.
“Romney has done incredible things, and we are thrilled she is coming,” Turley said.
Historically, several LDS women have been influential in national politics. One was Emily Richards, who proposed that Utah develop a suffrage group that would be officially affiliated with the National Women Suffrage Association. Richards formed friendships with leaders such as Susan B. Anthony, according to the Deseret News.
While Richards was prominent in the 19th century, for many contemporary LDS women Romney is a living example of female leadership in national politics and advocacy.
Romney will also be signing books at three other locations in Utah.