Thursday, May 15, 2008

MS Walk Thanks: Hope will not disappoint us

It was Friday, the day before the MS Walk, and I was headed to my car after work. The wind was forceful that afternoon, so much so that it grabbed my notebook, flung it into the parking lot, and dislodged a Post-It note (I live by those things) with a set of important directions I needed. I grabbed the notebook, and struggled to reach the critical pink Post-It note. Suddenly, a new friend, Willy, appeared. He grabbed the note, handed it to me, smiled, and paused (yes, mid-windstorm, one can pause!). Then he said, "Somethin special is gonna happen to you real soon, Miss Beth." Many special things happen to me, and the following day’s MS Walk this year was one of those things. Why?

It took me Sunday afternoon to pause and digest Saturday's MS Walk. MS is a tough disease--some people at the Walk have clear, familiar, visible symptoms; many people at the Walk struggle with invisible MS symptoms; so many people are impacted in so many ways; there is always a sense of unfairness. But the Walk was fantastic. The "May You Dance" team grew this year. On our team, two of us have MS. The growth of our team was exciting; to roll with our team was exhilarating; to see all the people at the Walk showing support to those who have MS was encouraging. There was a sense of excitement; a sense of hope. There is hope that all the money raised will provide assistance to those who live with MS, and money for research toward a cure.

Sunday afternoon I went on a bikeride (handcycle--I ride using my arms)--my unique way of pausing to reflect. I climbed hill after hill, finding all the thoughts expressed above (unfairness, support, excitement), climbing, climbing, knowing the cure for MS probably won't occur in my lifetime, but wanting a world someday that does not include MS. And then I reached the top of all the hills, and knew the whole way home was downhill. I could let go! And when I let go I felt hope, and a profound sense of thanks--to all who donated and all who help those of us with MS who struggle daily. So although thanks is not enough, thanks for your support of the MS Walk. Your support gives hope to so many who live with MS, and hope will not disappoint us.

~Beth Newsom and team "May You Dance"

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