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To the Editor: Increase awareness of fight against MS

June 23, 2010

Editor’s note: The following letter was sent prior to the World MS Day May 26.

I live in Pecatonica, Ill., and I am one of millions of people who have joined the movement to end multiple sclerosis, and I’m writing to ask for your help in changing the lives of people living with MS in this community and across the country.

World MS Day is May 26! People all over the world prepared for a day of activities. With events happening in at least 65 countries across the globe, the second World MS Day is set to be bigger and better than the first—and will help to raise awareness of MS and of the global MS movement.

Did you know that every hour someone is diagnosed with MS? This is a chronic disease of the central nervous system for which there is no cure. Multiple sclerosis interrupts the flow of information between the brain and the body and stops people from moving. I know the effects of MS. I have MS. Yes—many days movement is challenging, the pain from the damaged nerves can be very intense; this also includes blurred vision and chronic fatigue.

It is through awareness that we will find a cure for MS. I personally challenge other people with MS to stand up and fight! Yes—I have MS, but it does not have me. I live this saying every day. That is whether I am going to my job or working out at the gym or teaching swimming aquasize classes or gardening or… We all have many things that we do and should be doing. Do not let MS stop you. I am personally challenging other people with MS to stand up and fight. How? In whatever way that works for you!

I have challenged myself in the last eight weeks to walk 220 miles. With one week to go, I need 29 more miles. Why have I put such a challenge on myself? This is for several reasons: No. 1, I dedicate my miles to my son, a U.S. Marine currently in Afghanistan; No. 2, self-fulfillment (yes, I can do this); and No. 3, always working to keep muscle tone for personal mobility. Is it hard? YES!!! Therefore, I am challenging you—find your voice—find a “creative” way to stand out of the crowd. Tell people about your MS. We will find a cure. Go buy a MS Lottery ticket. Did you know that 100 percent of the revenue goes to MS research and STAYS IN the state of Illinois? Get involved! Talk to people around you about MS, talk to your elected officials; talk to your family; talk to your co-workers; go…

It only takes a few minutes to make a difference in the lives.

Pam Johnson

Pecatonica, Ill.

From the June 23-29, 2010 issue

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