A few years ago I began fundraising and walking to find a cure for MS or Multiple Sclerosis. If you aren't aware of what exactly that is a brief description would be: an inflammatory disease that involves the nerves, spinal cord, and brain. For more on the disease go to the Definition I found on Wikipedia. I became interested in finding a cure when a friend and coworker of mine was diagnosed with the disease.
I had known my friend since my days in undergrad in the social work program at Tarleton State. She was my listening ear about the troubles of having roommates and one of the people I bounced ideas off of for paper writing. After we graduated we kept in touch about our respective job searches and it worked out that we both got interviews at the same place. We went on to be hired on the same day....crazy right. So we were super excited to start our social work careers together and have someone we knew to start off. We both had training in Austin every other week or so, we decided it would be nice to carpool. I drove most of the time and soon after a few days or weeks together I found myself getting annoyed with her. I am a introverted person as is she but after a while I need quiet time to decompress. But when you ride down to training with someone, sit in training with someone, travel back to the hotel with that same someone, and then eat dinner again with that someone its TOTALLY normal that they would annoy you at some point.
So we made it through training and she was once again my confidante about the crazy things that happened. She was invaluable to me and I like to think I was somewhat helpful as well. A few years into our careers in Child welfare she began to have some odd health issues. She had trouble walking because she felt numb in her feet, she was forgetful, and there was a scare that she had a stroke. When the long awaited diagnosis came I found myself very emotionally raw. I was unimpressed by the way that my coworkers felt about my reaction. I didn't feel supported by them and didn't want to lean on my friend.
I recall the day I found out she had MS, I was in my apartment crying about how young she was and how she needed to be able to play with her beautiful daughter as long as she wanted to play. While MS is not a death sentence, it can greatly alter your ability to do physical things. It is also very impacted by your stress level and child welfare work is inherently stressful. The disease is also very unpredictable and you don't know how each person will react or how each flare up will manifest.
After my initial emotional reaction I decided to throw myself into finding a cure. My friend told me that she would be participating in the MS Walk Waco that year. We did a bake sale and I requested donations from my friends and coworkers. In subsequent years we did similar things including garage sales and my very popular gift set raffle. All of this fundraising culminates in a walk in which those with MS are supported by family and friends and receive information about the disease and treatment options.
It feels so great to know that what ever money I am able to raise could result in my friend living a long active life with her beautiful family. I have now moved to the Dallas area but I still plan to participate in the walk and fund raise what I can.
What causes are you passionate about and why? I think there are so many ways in which we can be helpful to those around us and so many ways in which we can do so. My hope would be that every person that is able would find a cause and throw themselves into it through work, play, action, and charity. If you need more of a push about why relief in action is needed click here to read another great story from a fellow blogger.
If you are interested in helping my donation efforts for this year follow this link My fundraising page.