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Walk MS Superheroes

Cheryl: Step-By-Step


When my grandmother passed away in 1990, I thought it was the worse news I could possibly hear.

In the weeks after hear passing, I was exhausted and emotionally drained. So when the vision in my left eye suddenly became blurry, I knew there could be any number of causes. But it wasn’t just an eye problem—I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

I didn't even know what MS was, but I had it.

I was 32 and suddenly living with this strange disease—I didn't know a thing about it; I didn't know what to do. I didn't know what I could do.

I told my mom and dad about this new challenge I was facing, and we found—and attended—a class for the newly-diagnosed and their loved ones that was provided through our local chapter of the National MS Society.

We were in the dark, and if I was going to fight this, I needed to arm myself with all the information I could.

Last September marked 25 years since the day my eye went blurry, and my life has certainly changed.


One thing that I always used to take for granted—that I see so many people still taking for granted—is just having the energy to get through the day. I always used to love coming home from work and watching Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! with my father, but now I come home and I just want to go to sleep. I've been looking for ways to boost my stamina, but if there's a secret to success, I have yet to find it.

Still, I love to write and I love to sing, and at work I'm pretty darn good at customer service. Working retail like I do, you always run into people who are feeling frustrated or fed up, and what you have to do is look them in the eye and tell them, “We'll work through this.” It builds a connection, and people keep coming back to me, so I must be doing something right.

In 2004, I had a major exacerbation that forced me to take some time off work. I didn't know how I was going to get back into moving around, much less working. I returned to the source that had helped me when I had first been diagnosed, the National MS Society, to volunteer—to do something with my time. I helped wherever I could, answering phones and everything, and found everyone there to be kind and friendly and accommodating. If I could do the work here, I could work back to where I was, I told myself.

I participated in my first Walk MS event two years later. Though I first believed it would be difficult to start a Walk MS team, turns out that all you need to do is start building those connections: This coming year will be Cheryl & Company's 10th year of walking. It might be our last; I'm getting more and more tired, but I'd like to go out with a bang.

Despite my struggles, I still believe life is good. We need to focus on the things that are important, not the tit-for-tat daily things that don't make any difference. We need to focus on the great people in front of us, beside us and behind us.

What I did today, and what you did today—even if it didn't matter to us—it stood out and mattered to someone.

So twenty-six years later, I keep walking on, step-by-step.

My name is Cheryl, and I live with MS.

Who’s Your Walk MS Hero?

Share their (or your) story on your Walk MS personal web page. Then post it on Facebook and ask your friends to consider making a donation. Together, we will beat MS. Together, we are stronger.

Cheryl & Team

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