Avril Lavigne burst onto the music scene when she was just 17. Raised in the small town of Napanee, Ontario, her debut album Let Go, released in 2002, went platinum four times. Its most popular song, "Complicated," became a number-one single worldwide, as have four other singles released since then. Her fourth and most recent album, Goodbye Lullaby, released in March 2011, scored chart success in the United States and abroad. In addition to her highly successful career in singing and songwriting, Lavigne, 27, has acted in films and created lines of both clothing and perfume. WebMD the Magazine recently asked the young star about her work to help people with multiple sclerosis, how she stays in shape on the road, and just what inspires her to write a song.
March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, and your Avril Lavigne Foundation has partnered with the Race to Erase MS, the annual fundraising gala hosted by the Nancy Davis Foundation for Multiple Sclerosis. What are you doing this month to help make a difference for those who have this chronic autoimmune condition that affects the central nervous system?
In some ways, each person with multiple sclerosis lives with a different illness. Although nerve damage is always involved, the pattern is unique for each individual with MS.
Specific experiences with MS may vary widely, but doctors and researchers have identified several major types of MS. The categories are important because they help predict disease severity and response to treatment.
Helping to raise awareness about MS and continuing the conversation to educate people about this disease is what is most important.
What inspired you to get involved? Do you have a personal connection?
Meeting Nancy Davis and hearing her story is what got me involved. I was so moved by her determination after she was diagnosed with MS in 1993 to help find a cure for this disease that I really wanted to get on board and help out any way I could.
What do you want people to know about MS?
MS is a disease that affects the whole family, not just a person. It affects twice as many women as men and there is no cure. Also, it is not contagious! MS is a random disease, but there is some research that shows there is a higher risk in some families.
You've been touring and working hard to support your latest album Goodbye Lullaby. How do you stay in shape when you're on the road?
I stay active by Rollerblading, skateboarding, surfing, snowboarding -- not really working out but a great way to stay in shape and have fun with friends and family.
What's your best health habit?
I like to cook vegan.
What's your worst?
Do you cook or order in most nights?
I love to cook, whether at home making Italian or creative salads, or on the road making dinner for the band. I recently made pea soup on tour using my Crock-Pot!
Do you have a personal health philosophy?
I enjoy life but in moderation. I would never criticize someone for their health choices, but I choose to live as healthy as possible.