Kick Off Your New Year Right: Volunteer with the Oregon Chapter

Hi Volunteer Army!

As the year comes to a close, I think back on the memories we shared at Walk MS, Bike MS, A Night in the Park (remember David Osmond singing “Sacred Emotion”?), working together in our office, and so much more.

And that makes me grateful for YOU. Because your talent, your time, and your BIG heart  helped make all of these events and our Chapter’s work so AWESOME — and led to one of the most successful years in our Chapter’s history. Isn’t that cool?
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Kevin B: Never Stop, Never Quit

by Nan Devlin

When Kevin was a cadet at West Point, he overheard Brigadier General Robert Foley tell a story to a group of visitors about the mental, physical and emotional tenacity of brave soldiers. The general said that even in relentless onslaughts of overwhelming enemy forces, military leaders never stop; they never quit.

Kevin was no ordinary soldier. The mental conditioning, physical strength and readiness training gained at West Point made him an Apache attack helicopter pilot and earned him a command of 140 troops in South Korea. He was at the top of his game—young, fit and healthy. Then came a day in 1999.
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Franklin D. Roosevelt is flanked by Eleanor Roosevelt and an aide at his 1933 inauguration. Photograph by Harris & Ewing, courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division [ LC-USZ62-123456].

FDR: A Hidden Hero to the Disability Community

He was elected for four terms and led the country through some of the most frightening times we have ever known — including the attack on Pearl Harbor, 73 years ago this December 7.

by Helen Russon

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, there were laws on the books – known as the Ugly Laws – that actually prohibited people from presenting themselves in public if they had disfiguring disabilities. But it was during this era of disability phobia that the United States elected a president who could not walk.
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Our struggles are not that different

A recap of October’s Providence MS Center Support Group

By Helen Russon

Just like last month, we barely got through our introductions before the support group time was up. Everyone attending this month’s Providence Multiple Sclerosis support group seemed to feel like talking about – and listening to – how MS has changed our lives and how we cope with the “new normal.”

This is the kind of group where you don’t have to make excuses about not having read the book, nor do you have to get on a scale in front of everyone. All you need is to have a connection to MS – through yourself, a friend or a family member.
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An update on Portland’s disabled parking law

by Helen Russon

In June on this blog we covered the new requirements for parking with a disabled placard in Portland (see “Parking Rules are Changing for People with Disabilities”). Those rules went into effect July 1, 2014.

While some applaud the increased availability of parking spaces, others think it puts an unfair burden on people with disabilities. There are good points on both sides, but the reality is this is now the law – and we ignore it at our own peril (of getting a ticket)!

So in a salute to reality, we had decided to provide a quick update on the law. Coincidentally, just as we were putting the finishing touches on it, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) told us they were releasing some new information about how it is all working out. We’ll get to that in a minute. But first, here is a quick review of the changes:
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The Stars Aligned for a Night of Hope

by Jennifer Meacham

“How many of you are personally associated with someone with MS?”

Such was the question posed by David Osmond, National MS Society ambassador and keynote speaker for A Night in the Park: Gala 2014. Roughly half of the 220 seated in downtown Portland’s Director Park on September 11 raised their hands.

David’s father, eldest of the world-famous Osmond Brothers, was diagnosed with primary-progressive MS in 1987. Twenty years later, David received his own diagnosis, for relapsing MS.

“My daughter Saffron prays at night and says ‘And please bless my daddy, that his MS will go away,’” David said to the crowd. “She’s 5. And when I hear those words, how can I not do everything in my power to fight back and make sure that I beat MS?”
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Sometimes The Strongest Warriors Are The Most Peaceful – Remembering B.H.S. Iyengar

By Helen Russon

“I always tell people, ‘Live happily and die majestically.’ ”

That is one of the many pieces of wisdom passed on to us by B.K.S.Iyengar, the author of the world-famous “Light on Yoga” and 14 other books on yoga. Mr. Iyengar died on August 20, 2014, at the age of 95. He is credited with lifting yoga out of its ancient murkiness and presenting it to modern society – in a way that is accessible to everyone.
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Rolling Down the Pipeline Towards a Cure

By Helen Russon

Let’s face it – we all appreciate the new advances in “maintaining” and “living with MS,” but deep down inside, what we really long for is a cure!

That’s where research comes in. Research is what has made it possible for the 11 new drugs to be put on the market over the last 20 years.  And research serves a dual function: while it certainly helps to manage our day-to-day symptoms, it also brings us closer to the day where MS will go the way of polio and yellow fever.
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We Could’ve Danced All Night. Or at Least Watched.

by Helen Russon

If you could create a perfect evening, wouldn’t you want to blend good company, gorgeous weather, fabulous food and drinks and—hmm—fantastic dancing performances? Wouldn’t you also arrange things so the money you spent on the evening was going for a good cause (or two)?
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MS Summer Series: Not Afraid to Tackle the Tough Topics

By Helen Russon

Even though you know you don’t have to say anything if you don’t want to, it’s always tough to walk into a room full of strangers. It’s even tougher if the topic revolves around one of the biggest challenges of your life. But it’s much easier if as soon as you arrive, you see people relaxed and chatting, and you realize that almost everyone there either has MS or has a close connection with someone who does.
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