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Stars Spotlight Personal Triumphs Over Stuttering
Date:6/12/2009

Luminaries from politics, Hollywood and Wall Street show the condition can be overcome

FRIDAY, June 12 (HealthDay News) -- Stars from the world of entertainment and finance spoke out at a gala benefit this week in New York City with one goal in mind: to help lift the stigma around stuttering, and to further research into a condition affecting millions of Americans.

The success of some former stutterers attending or mentioned at the American Institute for Stuttering (AIS) event was testimony in itself that the condition can be overcome. The night's emcee, Law & Order actor Sam Waterston, relayed a message from one such prominent figure.

Waterston read from a letter from Vice President Joe Biden, a former stutterer who spoke at last year's gala, when he received the AIS's Leadership Award for his advocacy on the condition.

"Overcoming a stutter can be difficult, and the daily struggle created by the challenge can seem overwhelming," Biden wrote. "However, I am confident that with the help of organizations like this ... great possibilities lie ahead for the nearly 3 million people affected by stuttering."

Waterston, who has no history of stuttering, said the night was designed "to raise awareness of this often misunderstood disorder." He later welcomed to the podium renowned journalist and author Barbara Walters, who movingly described her sister's long struggle with stuttering.

The spotlight also fell on British film actress Emily Blunt and the New York City-born TD Ameritrade brokerage mogul Joe Moglia, both of whom found themselves in a personal struggle with stuttering from an early age. Blunt and Moglia were each honored with this year's AIS Leadership Awards.

"I'm here because I want to put across that it's nothing to be ashamed of to have a stutter," said Blunt, 26, perhaps best known for her work alongside Meryl Streep in the 2006 movie The Devil Wears Prada.'/>"/>

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