Guest post by: John Duffy
My sister, Joanne, was never much of an athlete. She was a bit clumsy. Our parents had a chalet in Craigleith and one weekend while there together, we decided to go for a walk to the shore of Georgian Bay. On the way back, and within about 150m of the chalet, Joanne stumbled and fell. We could see that she was having a hard time getting up, so my father ran up ahead and checked on her. He continued to the chalet to get his car, drove back and picked her up. We could tell that Joanne was worried because she knew something must be wrong with her.
Shortly after, Joanne was diagnosed with MS. When she was diagnosed, she was sad but not surprised. It was an absolute shock to me and the rest of my family. I didn’t know much about MS, but it seemed to be brought on from her having a child. I was fearful of what lay ahead for her.
The first year she was diagnosed, I wanted to do whatever I could to help support her. She and our family participated in our first-ever MS Walk. I saw that the organizers needed some help, so I began folding up event tables. That’s how my 25 years of volunteering for the MS Society started.
Throughout the years, I’ve participated in MS golf tournaments, Burgers to Beat MS, the MS Society’s Grand River community council, the local Christmas luncheon, and so much more. I take pride in being an MS Society Ontario division board member for years and have been on several provincial working groups and committees.
My favourite thing about volunteering has been connecting with people in the MS community. For our Christmas luncheon, I’m often the emcee and I keep the tone light hearted. I love seeing the smiles of everyone attending. I always want to do my part to help others, including those living with MS.
Unfortunately, over the years, Joanne has gone from stumbling to using a cane, to using a walker and now a wheelchair. She has lost most of the dexterity in her hands and her quality of life has greatly diminished as she relies on her husband and PSWs to help her do everyday things.
Joanne has been living with MS for many years and I worry about the future generations of Canadians being diagnosed with this disease. I don’t want them to have to live with the uncertainty that my sister has had to live with. I hope that we can see a cure in our lifetime so that future generations diagnosed with MS can live a fulfilled life.
Every dollar counts when raising funds for people living with MS. As there are an estimated 90,000 Canadians living with MS, there are so many people with a connection to this cause, who can step up and help.
Knowing how important giving back to the community is and the positive impact I can leave on those who need it most is what drives me to donate. With all the funds raised for people living with MS, like Joanne, we can take a step closer to a cure– which would mean the world to me.
Today, on #GivingTuesday, your donation will make 3x the impact for Canadians living with MS. Your tripled donation will help diminish the uncertainty people affected by MS face by providing better treatment options, support program options, and educational experience options – options to make their lives brighter.