When you live with MS, sharing your experience publicly can be a challenge. It also can be an inspiration to others to join the fight.
Here’s Chris P’s Bike MS fundraising letter/story. Feel free to use it as a template to guide your own.
I thought I was invincible. I was always moving, getting everything out of every moment in my life. Then something changed.
I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) eight years ago. At first, I denied it. I didn’t want to change the way I was living, but my MS meant that I had to slow down. Less exercising, less live music, less staying out late. My lifestyle had to change completely. And so, slowly, I learned to take breaks and manage my health while still doing the things I loved to do. It wasn’t easy. I still struggle with it.
It wasn’t just the lifestyle change that made living with MS difficult. I also didn’t like that I would have to undergo serious medical procedures. I had wanted to treat myself with natural remedies. But with time, I realized that the neurologists and researchers working for a cure for MS truly wanted to help me.
When I was still learning to deal with my diagnosis, I found myself on a bike ride with a new friend. I had to stop and rest repeatedly during the ride, and I got frustrated with my situation and with myself. I didn’t want MS controlling me. I told my fellow cyclist about my diagnosis, wanting to explain my need to stop, and I was afraid at first of what he might think of my condition. But he understood. I felt a wave of relief. He accepted me, MS and all, and it helped me accept MS myself. Today, he’s my husband, and together we follow the rule that life is worth living.
I was laid off from my job just as I was first learning to deal with my diagnosis. That could have been a catastrophe, but I had decided that I wasn’t going to let MS make my decisions for me. I may not have been invincible, but I could still live well. I started my own business, which allowed me the freedom to seek the treatment I needed on my time. I took control of my life again.
Once I had started treatment, I knew that I needed to get involved. I traveled and shared my story with others with MS and their families and friends. I’ve always advocated for living well. “Don’t be afraid of MS,” I tell people, “but learn to live even better with it.” After all, we’re all going to get something that will make our lives difficult at some point or another, so why not adapt and fight back?
My cousin Gretchen and I after the 18-mile ride at Bike MS
And fighting back makes a massive difference! Raising awareness and money allows devoted researchers to make progress on a cure. Just think: if we can find a cure, we can have a world free of MS for everyone dealing with the condition now and for every generation still to come.
Living with MS has taught me to stop looking over my shoulder and to just keep going. Will you help us to keep going?
NEED HELP WRITING YOUR OWN FUNDRAISING LETTER OR STORY?
Riders who share their personal connection to MS typically raise 3x more funds to crush MS. Learn how in auGi’s Storytelling 101 or email Amy Harris for ideas. We’re here to help!