Wendy Williams Asks for 'Personal Space and Peace' amid 'Overwhelming' Response to Dementia Diagnosis | lovebscott.com

Wendy Williams Asks for ‘Personal Space and Peace’ amid ‘Overwhelming’ Response to Dementia Diagnosis

Wendy Williams is speaking out on her recent health diagnoses.

via: People

In a statement exclusively obtained by PEOPLE on Friday, Williams, 59, thanked fans for their “overwhelming” support in the hours following the news.

“I want to say I have immense gratitude for the love and kind words I have received after sharing my diagnosis of Aphasia and Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD),” she said. “Let me say, wow! Your response has been overwhelming. The messages shared with me have touched me, reminding me of the power of unity and the need for compassion.”

“I hope that others with FTD may benefit from my story. I want to also thank the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration for their kind words of support and their extraordinary efforts to raise awareness of FTD,” Williams added. “I continue to need personal space and peace to thrive. Please just know that your positivity and encouragement are deeply appreciated.”

Williams’ care team announced her dementia diagnosis on Thursday. In a press release, the former talk show host’s team said she received her diagnosis last year and the conditions “have already presented significant hurdles in Wendy’s life.”

“Wendy is still able to do many things for herself,” the team said in a statement. “Most importantly she maintains her trademark sense of humor and is receiving the care she requires to make sure she is protected and that her needs are addressed. She is appreciative of the many kind thoughts and good wishes being sent her way.”

According to Mayo Clinic, aphasia “robs you of the ability to communicate” and “can affect your ability to speak, write and understand language, both verbal and written.” The group adds that the condition “typically occurs suddenly after a stroke or a head injury. But it can also come on gradually from a slow-growing brain tumor or a disease that causes progressive, permanent damage (degenerative).”

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is an all-encompassing term for a group of brain disorders that threatens the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. This means that parts of these lobes atrophy, and the shrinking of these areas can cause speech issues, emotional problems and changes in personality. Other symptoms can include loss of motor skills — problems walking, swallowing or muscle spasms. Symptoms tend to get worse over time. Patients typically begin to notice symptoms between 40 – 65 years of age, but it can affect people who are younger. It is the most common form of dementia for people under 60.

Williams has dealt with a number of ongoing health issues, including Graves’ disease, lymphedema and alcohol abuse. She entered a facility to treat “cognitive issues” in April 2023 and has been appointed a court-appointed legal guardian.

Her sister Wanda Finnie and niece Alex Finnie told PEOPLE in this week’s cover story that they have seen a positive change in her condition, though they were unaware of her FTD diagnosis due to the limited contact they have with Williams in the facility. (While staying at the undisclosed location, Williams’ family say they’ve been unable to contact her due to the guardian’s rules, which require Williams to reach out first from a blocked phone number.)

“She sounds really great. To hear my aunt now in terms of just how clear she is, just how focused she is on the importance of family and the reality in terms of facing and understanding where she’s at physically and mentally and emotionally, it is like a 180,” Alex said.

“I don’t know what is working, but I do know that when she did reach out to me, it was a person who is remarkably different than what we see in that documentary,” Wanda added, referring to Where Is Wendy Williams?, Lifetime’s new documentary filmed between August 2022 and April 2023.

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