By Nan Devlin
Merilee McDowell was just 22 years old when she began to experience numbness on her right side. Her balance was off, and she often felt sleepy and exhausted. For a normally energetic and active young woman, this was cause for concern, so she saw a doctor. The last thing she expected to hear was a tentative diagnosis of MS. Tentative, because in 1977, MS was harder to diagnose, and there was really no medication given other than prednisone, an immunosuppressant steroid.
“A lot of progress has been made since then,” said Merilee, who later was officially diagnosed and treated at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland by Dr. Roy Swank, a pioneer in MS research. “And it’s the main reason I am a supporter of Walk MS.”
“If it hadn’t been for the National MS Society responding to my need for an electric wheelchair, I would be completely confined to my apartment. It was beyond frustration, having to grab friends just to get my mail.
I didn’t have the funds to buy a chair, and my health insurance would not pay for it. It’s wonderful the Society provided a motorized chair, and came to my rescue! Now I can zip around, get out and meet people, and even get my own mail. This has brightened my day, and changed my life considerably. I appreciate all you have done for me.”
Your donation to Walk MS helps more people like Cyd get out and about through our financial assistance program.
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Image Credit: Jenny Kroik
Free Workshop: Work with Professional Actors to Share Your MS Story
The old adage, “You haven’t got anything if you don’t have your health” is pretty far from the truth some days. Illness can isolate, stigmatize, frustrate, disempower and transform your life. It can also bring you in contact with people who live their lives with generosity and compassion, reveal talents you didn’t know you possessed, teach you what to hold onto and what to let go of, and bring you into close relationships with people whose backgrounds are wildly different from yours, but who share a common experience with your own.
These stories can be magic. If you’ve got one to tell about your journey with MS, here’s your chance to both develop and see it performed by professional actors.