I want to highlight on this day some comments on how others can help bring awareness. Awareness = information = understanding = closer step to a cure.
One very important group of people to mention is those who ride in Bike MS. For many years, it was known as the MS 150 because each ride lasted 150 miles. Our local chapter still does this, with a century loop optional for each day. These riders raise financial support and may ride up to 200 miles. They are a group of heroes all by themselves. Here is a video of Bike MS that can illustrate the ride visually.
- Another important group is the immediate family. It is a challenging disease that affects the entire family. For us, it has meant that recreational choices, daily living choices, and much more are permanently changed. We all have worked very hard to keep our family intact. It is a difficult but deliberate choice every day. We have experienced tremendous changes through the years. I no longer manage our bills. My employment status has changed. My medical bills have often consumed our household income. We have changed homes so that I can have greater accessibility that leads to fewer accidents in the home. We had to make difficult choices on what our children could participate in because of each of these factors. Each family faces different situations. If you have a family member who lives with this diagnosis either as the patient or another member of the family, can you take time today to encourage them? The encouragement and support is what keeps people going. If you fall into this group, educate yourself on what they are facing. Talk to them directly, not about them. Ask questions on how you can help. Support the family.
- Another valuable group is the friends who show support. I am blessed to have friends who have taken me to the mall to do Christmas shopping when I was unable to drive. Meals provided ~ they are always appreciated because of the load it takes off of my husband who now does all of our cooking. Those who have driven my children places when I was unable to do so. Friends who allow me to talk about what I am experiencing. As noted in the picture above, friends who financially and physically help to raise funds for a cure. The NMSS has several fundraisers throughout the year locally. Support through involvement in walks and other events is a way that they have shown tangibly that they stand beside us.We also support each other in these events, as shown in this photo with a few of my friends.
The last group that can make a major impact on the life of someone with MS is that person who is in the limelight daily while bringing awareness through their own circumstances. When we celebrated our 25th anniversary this past year, we took a long-awaited trip to New York City. One of my dreams was to visit The Today Show. A personal hero for me is Meredith Vieira, one of the anchors of the morning show. She is a hero to me personally because of her ability to manage such a major role each day with a smile on her face. At home, she has a family like mine with one exception. She is the main financial and emotional support for her husband, Richard M Cohen. He was diagnosed at age 25. I see people like her who continue in their marriage, continue in their support of the family in these roles, and see a hero. On the day we attended the show, she was not present. However, the staff of the Today show was equally kind in their treatment of us. So much so that we attended the Saturday show as well. Meredith Vieira will be greatly missed by menot only for her excellence in her job but also as a reminder of how to persevere. Just last evening she was presented with the 2011 Gracie Award last night for Outstanding News Anchor. The Gracie Awards recognizes exemplary females in their field. She is an example of excellence in all areas of her life.
If you know someone who lives with MS, or is the caretaker or family member of someone please consider taking the time today to call them. To show your support. To validate their dignity and worth despite anything physically this disease may have removed from their lives. You can make a tremendous impact. Today would be a great day to do so.
Thank you to each person who has served one of these roles on our lives. We count it all joy as we have journeyed this walk together, because our faith is increasing and we have opportunity to encourage others also. Each of you are amazing and appreciated.