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Monday, March 10, 2014
MiSery Loves Company But Company Kills Misery
Now I bet you’re still trying to process the fact that I said Walk MS, right? I mean I’m in a wheelchair after all. I found out some things about Walk that inspired me at the Buckeye Chapter of the MS Society’s Open House this past Thursday. First of all you don’t have to walk! There are 1, 5 and 10 mile routes and you can walk or use a wheelchair/power chair. A lot of the walkers don’t have MS but are raising funds to find a cure because they are affected by it just the same because a family member, friend or coworker has it. Our Walk MS team leader walks because both of his daughters, in their early 20s, have been diagnosed with MS. You can also participate by volunteering or simply attending the event.
No matter what kind of MS symptoms they have, participants who have the disease may or may not be able to actually walk on walk day. This is why the donations are not per mile as they are in many charity walks. Weather or an exacerbation on Walk day can change the drive of as “MSer” to actually do the walking. For my part, I hope to do the first mile in my power chair. You can see my profile page and donate if you are able at my Walk MS page here: http://main.nationalmssociety.org/goto/davonna
It’s been a full, but in a good way, week in the MS part of my world since we got back from our short Maryland trip. March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness month, so it makes sense that it’s a busy MS month!
The day after we got back was my first of four training teleconferences to become an official MS Society support group leader. Our self-help group had to select a leader and a new location. We’d been at our chapter’s local office, but we need to officially meet off-site. I’ll have a coleader who is planning to go through training after the busy season at her job is done. It’s a little overwhelming with all the information and organizing to do, but the jobs I’ve loved the most have started the same way. This is a volunteer position, but it will add current project management work to my resume!
Leap Frog for MS blog and see her updates on the team and her training progress and read her inspiring story! For any of you who’ve considered me to be an “up” person, you’ll love Christine!
Thursday night was the Toledo office of Ohio’s Buckeye Chapter of the MS Society’s Open House. I’ve never seen the chapter office so full of people! I was introduced to reps from the MS Society’s main chapter office as the “newest self-help group leader.” Having a “title” again actually feels pretty good. I networked with some other group leaders and got some information about Walk MS, which is how I ended up joining that after meeting members of the team I joined. It was a fun evening and I actually won the raffle for an MS gift basket! I also brought home some window clings for car windows. I gave one to David and I’m going to give them to other members of my family with a “please put it in your car window?” I’ve said I wanted to start being more active in awareness and doing everything possible to help in solving the mystery of this disease and the past couple of weeks have been a big step in that direction.
I also met a friend for lunch yesterday who I’d been emailing with for over a year but had never met in person. She was diagnosed more recently than me and we’ve been able to support each other through the trials of adjusting to living with the challenges of the disease. We talked through lunch for a couple of hours which seemed like no time at all and we’ve agreed we need to make it a frequent lunch meeting!
The past few days have definitely been the first time MS has made me feel empowered, but I know it’s not the disease itself that empowering me. It’s he supportive and other optimistic people who have or are affected by it that empower me. We fight together and what knocks one person to the ground can still be punched back harder by an army.