My MS lesson

On May 12, Dan and I will join our friends and family in Frankenmuth, Mich., for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s largest fundraiser, Walk MS. The walk is always a great event; good people, good times, an exciting atmosphere, weather that is often awful but despite that, the day is always wonderful.

This is the 10thyear for our walk team, Team MonsterS. And I am the lucky captain of the team, which was among the state’s top 100 fundraisers in 2011. Yes, I’m so proud of our team.

Which makes it ironic when earlier this week my mom asked, “Don’t you ever get tired of asking for money?”

I enjoy the walk and am glad that many people and MS programs benefit from our efforts, but truth be told, it does get difficult asking the same friends over and over again for a donation.

I’m pretty confident they will always support my efforts, but still it’s tough to ask. After 15 years of my having Multiple Sclerosis, it’s hard to imagine knowing a single person who is not knowledgeable about this crappy disease of the central nervous system. Or a person whose life has not been touched in some way by this debilitating disease.

And as much as I like to pretend the disease doesn’t dominate my every moment, it does. And why shouldn’t it? After all, I face it every day. I realize its effect on my body, my ability (or inability) to walk, the wheelchair, and the burden MS places on my husband and me—the truth of life with a chronic illness.

I talk about it all of the time. And not just the bad stuff—remember MS was the reason for my meeting Dan, aka the man of my dreams. Heck, I once joked that I will talk about MS so much that someone will cure the disease just to shut me up.

For as tired as some people may get hearing about MS, imagine what it is like to live with it 24/7. But at least I’m living. There are much worse diseases and situations life puts us in.

When I think long and hard about my MS, my life could be a lot worse. We all are going through something. Strange, but that’s why I’m thankful for the chair. Most people treat me with a little more patience and kindness. From opening a door for me or grabbing a hard-to-reach item off a grocery store shelf, these little gestures make me smile. They are nice, but why does a person need to be in a chair for these little courtesies?

Like I said before, we are all facing some personal struggle. We should be kind to one another because you never know what that kindness will mean to someone else.

Be kind and supportive to one another. MS taught me that.

2 Responses to My MS lesson

  1. Amen. Right on. Well said. Like you, living with MS has taught me many things and much of them are positive. I too have learned that the world is filled with kind people, much more than I ever would’ve expected. I have learned that my friends and often strangers, all want to help fight this disease. I have learned that doing the MS Walk gives people an opportunity to participate and to help, and that makes all of us feel good. We have just finished our 6th year as an MS Walk team and sometimes it does seem, or at least feel like we are always asking for money. That is okay. I just need to remind myself that not only do I feel good when we raise money, but doing it makes my friends and family feel good too. It is something they can do and it is a way for them to help….. And everybody wants to help and feel like they are making a difference.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Michael. Good to read your thoughts and know that these “asking too much” feelings are common, but also that the awesome empowering feeling from fundraising is common too.

    Other than thunderstorms, our walk was great! Team MonsterS enjoyed our 10th walk, team camaraderie and the knowledge that Frankenmuth Walk MS site raised $105,000 to fight MS. How great is that?!?

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