Celebrity Supporters

Read about the celebrities who support the work of Facial Palsy UK.

Johnathon SchaechU.S. actor Johnathon Schaech (That Thing You Do, Prom Night, 5 Days of War, Phantom)

“My dear friend’s son was born with congenital facial palsy. After speaking with him and his wife, I have come to understand that people with facial palsy (and the families that care for them) could greatly benefit from having a centralized resource/website available to them where they can find the best, most reliable current information on facial palsy research, surgery options, doctors that specialize in treating the disorder, and a place where the facial palsy community can share their experiences, feelings, hopes, and fears in a safe and understanding online environment. There needs to be more awareness about facial palsy so people understand it is more than just a cosmetic issue, and that it is a disorder that often causes serious associated physical conditions and negative psychological effects on those afflicted.

As a professional actor, I know the power and impact our faces and our facial expressions have on those we interact with in our daily lives. People often make judgments about us, who we are, and if they “like” us based purely on that “first impression” when they meet us or see our face and smile for the first time. So when a person’s face doesn’t function in the same way as the average person, the effect that can have on someone with facial palsy can be significant and sometimes emotionally devastating. For this reason I 100% support the mission of Facial Palsy UK in raising awareness of these issues.

Please join me in supporting Facial Palsy UK so we can raise awareness about this important issue and offer a resource where people with facial palsy and those that love and care for them can get all the information and support they deserve.”

Colin SalmonBritish actor Colin Salmon (Resident Evil, Arrow, Doctor Who, 24, James Bond – Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough, Die Another Day)

“In 2010, my wife Fiona developed Bell’s palsy after a minor operation on a perforated eardrum. She first noticed a feeling of excruciating pain, which she likened to having her teeth pulled out. After a very bad night the pain seemed to lessen but by mid-afternoon the same day, one side of her face had begun to drop. She couldn’t lift the left side of her mouth to smile and her left eye was stuck open. We feared she’d had a stroke and went to see our out-of-hours GP at our local hospital; this was about 48 hours after her symptoms had first begun. The GP said it was more than likely due to trauma from the surgery and to give it a couple of days for the swelling to subside. The next day things were even worse so we decided to go back to Charing Cross Hospital where she’d had her surgery, and the specialist there immediately diagnosed Bell’s palsy. Upon correct diagnosis Fiona was prescribed steroids and anti-viral drugs but the condition responds best when treated with these drugs within the first 72 hours. I had to wait seven hours to get Fiona’s prescription filled by the hospital pharmacy which meant it was actually 70 hours after the initial onset of symptoms before Fiona started taking the steroid tablets. This meant there was a lesser chance of a full recovery because she was nearly outside the 72 hour ‘treatment window’.

Having Bell’s palsy had a profound effect on Fiona’s confidence; she decided not to attend red-carpet events and would hide away in a corner at restaurants because she didn’t want people to see her struggling to eat with her semi-paralysed mouth. Simple everyday tasks such as taking a shower suddenly became difficult because her eye didn’t close properly. Fiona is my wife and I will always love her no matter what, but every woman wants to feel confident in her looks. After two months it seemed like things were improving but then she noticed strange new sensations in her face. Her eye would close when she ate and the muscles in her chin pulled to one side which looked strange. She was diagnosed with synkinesis which is a complication of facial palsy. Fortunately Fiona received treatment in the form of physiotherapy and botox injections to prevent the muscles overacting which has really helped, but many people with similar problems have never been offered this kind of help. Fiona wanted to become a trustee of Facial Palsy UK to raise awareness of the condition, early diagnosis is so important and we also want to ensure people know there are treatment options available for those left with residual problems such as synkinesis.”

Uri GellerUri Geller

“I know just how devastating facial palsy can be for the patients and their families and how important it is for them to have the support of a dedicated team of professionals. This is why I am happy to be a supporter of this very worthwhile charity.”

Denise Van OutenDenise Van Outen

Not many people have heard of facial palsy, yet anyone can get it at any age and sometimes children are born with it. I’m happy to support Facial Palsy UK in raising awareness of this condition.

Last reviewed: 16-02-2020    ||    Next review due: 16-02-2022