Today in Seattle, Washington, the local MS Society Chapter in cooperation with a host of other businesses and organizations held their annual MS Lifelines/MS Walk to raise money and awareness for Multiple Sclerosis. I didn't attend this year for obvious reasons you may have already read. Frankly, I was afraid I might steal the show with my current steroid confusion and agitation!
I have attended a previous MS Walk since my diagnosis. The picture here is of the backs of my coworkers after we "walked the walk" in 2004...they forbid me from exposing their faces out of fear of repercussion! We made T-shirts with our catchy office nicknames, got a few pledges, and strolled down the Burke-Gilman Trail with several hundred other walkers, enjoying what turned out to be a beautiful, Seattle day in April. I imagine the scene today on the trail was much as it was two year's ago...minus my group of cronies, however.
I am always profoundly moved by the number and types of people who turn out for these fund raising events. There are people attending who are diagnosed with MS, family, coworkers, friends, businesses, doctors, nurses, children...the list goes on and on. And each one has their own connection to why they are there en mass to support such a cause. Folks often talk about feelings of support, pride, encouragement, understanding, guilt, compassion, etc., as their own personal reason they are in attendance. Heck, once I was even casually told by an attendee he simply needed another free T-shirt!
But whatever the motivation or driving force, the end result is basically the same: they are doing something to help someone. Pure and simple. We all have that innate need. To help. To support. To try. God bless the healthy people who can and do lend their time and energies to such worthy causes!
I have no idea what awaits me around the corner in my travels with Multiple Sclerosis. Tomorrow I may be blind or unable to walk or perhaps, simply another day of the "usual". But just for today, I can walk, I can see, and I am alive and I, too, need to fulfill a function. Whether it is donating a few extra bucks to the Greater Washington Multiple Sclerosis Chapter (and you can do so on line via your own local chapter at http://www.nationalmssociety.org ), walking a fundraiser when I can, or simply chatting on line with a friend who is struggling with their diagnosis/situation currently, all off these actions connect me to the bigger picture so to speak. You don't have to have money to "help" (although it is a primary gain of the fundraiser events) or to fulfill your own need and function. Sometimes just cheering from your wheel chair at a walker in an event is the most wonderful support you can offer to the cause. Sometimes it is telling your story to someone else who feels lost in the quagmire of MS. Sometimes it is volunteering an hour of your time to stuff envelopes at your local chapter.
Whatever you find to "give", do it. If you are reading this, you and I aren't dead yet and hopefully won't be for a very long time. So, three cheers for the healthy people who walked today in the name of the cause! Hip Hip Hooray!