Three years ago, Jerry Mathers took part in The Tonight Show's "Celebrity Survivor" contest, and won -- proving that the icon of wholesome 1950s All-Americanism can hang with the best of 'em. But Mathers (you remember -- the Beav!) won only after eating a worm, which resulted in a trip to the hospital shortly thereafter. While this would be a bum deal under any circumstances, in Mathers' case, the incident had additional consequences; Mathers has psoriasis -- an incurable skin disease -- which was further exacerbated by the illness.
Golly gee -- what itches?
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"I was very sick and had to go on steroids," Mathers recalls. "The psoriasis spread to my arms and legs, but only for three weeks."
Thanks to modern medicines, such as Amevive, Mathers' psoriasis was quickly put under control. Now Mathers is out on the lecture circuit. No, not warning of the dangers of nibbling on nightcrawlers but educating people about psoriasis. At this Saturday's seminar, "Psoriasis Treatments: New Hope," Mathers is joined by dermatologists, who discuss the latest medical breakthroughs. Two things Mathers wants to make clear are that psoriasis is not contagious and that those who have the disease should not skimp on doctor's visits.
Fortunately for Mathers, his psoriasis is mild, flaring up only when he's sick or under excessive stress. And, unlike more severe cases (some people are affected on 95 percent of their bodies), Mathers is afflicted only in a small patch of skin, though he's reminded of it every time he sits. In other words, unless you're his dermatologist, you wouldn't know he has the disease.
So what about the Beaver? Mathers occasionally accepts small acting roles, usually guest appearances. But Mathers is selective because, well, most people just want to goof on the former child star. You can see why he'd rather do the lecture circuit. Yeah, he'll sign a picture for you. But please, no offerings of Gummi Worms. You know what happens when the Beaver gets stressed. -- Jason Budjinski