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MSM Gittins

Name: William A. Gittins, NHA

Connection to MS movement:  I am the primary caregiver to my wife Elizabeth “Beth” Gittins who has chronic progressive MS.  Beth has had MS for a little over 21 years, having been diagnosed in February of 1986.  We met in the spring of 1990 when she was coming to the Physical Therapy Clinic that I was managing.  Her therapist told me that she had a patient with MS who needed some encouragement to exercise and that I could use the exercise to loose some weight, so why didn’t I become her workout partner.  Well we never got to the gym and after 17 years, I can happily say that I am still her workout partner.  As Beth and I started to make long term plans, she asked me if we could move “home.”  As she put it, “Bill, if I am going to be sick, I want to be sick at Home.”  So we moved to Mississippi.   

Occupation/Hobbies:   I own the local office of Right at Home in the Quarter. Right at Home is an in-home care and assistance agency.  We provide trained, insured and bonded caregivers for a variety of caregiving needs.  Whether it's for extra assistance after a stay in the hospital, an aging parent who needs extra help, companionship to remain in their home or as a respite for the husband or wife who cares for an ailing spouse, Right at Home can help.  We believe that “Maintaining Independence is an Option.” 

What I’ve done to join the movement: People remember the date they are diagnosed, it’s a special date.  Some look at it as a penalty to be suffered and other like my wife use it as an opener to begin a conversation.  Beth has a loving soul, she will talk with anyone and everyone, making everyone’s day brighter.  Beth and I are always talking to people about living with MS and what it has meant to us. 

What I’m doing during MS Awareness Week:   I host a weekly Radio Show on WLEZ FM 103.7.  Several times during the year I have people from the Society and other specialists who work with MS on the Show.  On March 10 at 10:00 AM I will have Jimmie Saucier of the All American Chapter on the show to increase awareness and talk about the Walk and Bike Mississippi events.  

What does being a part of the MS movement mean to me?   Being a part of the movement has allowed Beth and I to meet new people and to let us know that we are not alone.  While MS affects everyone differently, we all have a lot in common.

One thing I’ve learned about living with MS that I want to tell you:  I have learned that you have to have patience, not only with the person limited by MS, but with myself.  I realize that no matter how bad I think I may have it, there is always someone else who is in a tougher predicament, so live life to the fullest and enjoy what you can when you can.