Making MS news in my hometown – Part II

Today the second of a two-part series featuring an extensive Q and A with Jennifer and me appeared in the Monticello Express, my hometown newspaper. Certainly, Part II has different information that Part I, but I still feel the same about it as I did last week (see my previous post)!

I guess what’s different this time around is that in addition to being humbled by it all, there’s a lot of excitement (or is it nervousness?) surrounding our being featured in the paper again this week: Jennifer and my presentation, which was what motivated Express Editor Steve Lerch to talk with us in the first place, is happening in less than two days! 1:30 p.m. Saturday, April 11, to be exact. Let’s see … a two-part interview in the Express over the last two weeks, presentation flyers being posted all around town, and, (how incredible is this?) copies of the flyers getting inserted in the bulletins of the church where I grew up? No pressure there!

The reality is we couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to share our story in Monticello to increase awareness about Multiple Sclerosis and inspire others who are dealing and living with the challenges of this and other illnesses. It seems like we’ve already started to do this, and we haven’t spoken a word about it there at all yet! How humbling is that?

Here’s Part II:

Digmanns hope to raise MS awareness, seek cure
The following discussion is the second of a two-part series with 1991 Monticello High School Graduate Dan Digmann. Mr. Digmann and his wife Jennifer are living with Multiple Sclerosis and will be hosting a public discussion about their fight to raise awareness at 1:30 p.m. p.m. Saturday, April 11 at Mary Lovell LeVan Renaissance Center.

SL– What would you two like to see have happen in the field of MS  research/awareness within the next 5– 10 years?

Dan:
I want them to be able to pinpoint the specific causes of MS so people can avoid getting the disease in the first place. And I’d like them to develop an alternative to the disease-modifying medicines that currently are only available through either daily, every other day or weekly injections.

Jennifer:
A cure, of course, but more selfishly, I want a fix. I want to be able to walk again in my lifetime. And I have two beautiful nieces and a handsome nephew. I never want them to be told that they have MS.

SL– What are your immediate goals in regards to raising awareness? Is the Monticello visit the first of many stops that you’ll be making?  Will you be presenting any challenges to the community to help raise awareness…. For example, in one year you’ll return to see if the city has implemented an MS awareness 5k.

Dan:
We launched a Web site—www.danandjenniferdigmann.com–and started actively seeking opportunities to share our story with communities and organizations because we want to do what we can to increase awareness and provide a positive, but realistic, perspective about life with this disease. We want to show two faces of MS and give people hope in dealing with the daily challenges of living with a chronic illness. We lead an MS support group in Alma, Mich., and are active volunteers with the National MS Society. Through the connections and friendships we have developed as volunteers, it really has given us the reassurance that we’re not facing this disease alone. Perhaps our speaking in Monticello will provide some people comfort or will inspire others to participate in the upcoming Walk MS event in Cedar Rapids, or, how incredible would it be if somebody looked into starting a local support group for others living with MS?

SL– What do the Digmanns like to do for fun?

Jennifer:
We are very involved with Central Michigan University.We both enjoy CMU sports—especially football and wrestling—CMU Theater, our church, our MS support group, our family and our adorable cat, Cooper.

SL– What don’t the Digmanns want to see happen with the U.S.  Healthcare System?

Dan:
Thinking positively, we want ongoing and future research of MS and other diseases such as Parkinson’s, diabetes and Alzheimer’s as well as other health concerns to continue. I would like to see them do something that will make prescription drugs more affordable for everyone.

Jennifer:
It is vital that the government continues to support valuable programs at the state level such as Michigan’s MI Choice Medicaid Waiver Program, which I am blessed and fortunate to receive the services it provides so I can continue living in my own home.

BREIFLY:
Dan Digmann graduated from Monticello High School is 1991. He earned his Bachelors in Communication Arts from Wartburg College in 1995 and is currently the assistant director of publications/editorial in the CMU Office of Public Relations and Marketing.

Jennifer Digmann earned her BA in Sociology from the University of Michigan-Flint in 1997. She is currently, deemed disabled due to my secondary progressive MS and I no longer work outside of the home.

2 Responses to “Making MS news in my hometown – Part II”

  1. Justine Lam says:

    Dan and Jennifer,
    Thanks for all that you are doing to promote awareness about MS and the need to find a “fix” fast.

    I know that there are many people waiting for MS treatments… they can’t wait any longer.

    My organization is a part of that solution, trying to speed up the research and focusing on repairing the myelin. Check us out if you have time.

    Keep it up!
    Justine Lam
    Internet Strategist
    Myelin Repair Foundation

  2. Gerald Retzlaff - Monticello Rotary Secretary says:

    Dan & Jennifer,
    On behave of the members of the Monticello Rotary Club I want to thank both of you for your very informative program at our club meeting. Everyone was very interested and your presentation and the effects it has on your daily lives was inspirational. God be with both of you as you continue your efforts to make everyone more aware of this chronic dieases’s effects. GO ORANGE !!!!!!!
    Gerald Retzlaff

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