Like many Canadians, Cathy knows someone who lives with MS. Actually, she has known several people living with MS throughout her life, but the one closest to home is her daughter. A retired registered nurse, Cathy began supporting the MS Society of Canada long before her daughter was diagnosed because of a colleague earlier in her career – her colleague and the colleague’s mother both lived with the disease. There were also many patients living with MS at a long-term care facility where Cathy worked, and they left a lasting impression on her. “When the people around you, sometimes even younger than you, are getting this terrible disease, it really makes an impact.” shares Cathy.
So, when her daughter started waking up with her hands in bad shape – tingling and eventually becoming painful – Cathy started keeping a journal with all the details of her daughter’s medical issues. She knew how important it was to document everything from the beginning. Because of her diligent journal notes and her own professional experience, Cathy was able to tell her daughter’s story to the medical professionals that helped get a diagnosis earlier than might have been the case. Cathy explains, “She was such a textbook case of MS in my mind. And she was diagnosed just days before her 26th birthday.”
Fortunately, since her daughter started taking medication, she has never had another episode. 10 years without any change in her MRI and a reduction in her meds, from three injections a week to two; she is doing very well.
Cathy and her husband feel extremely fortunate for the life they have built together. They share three beautiful children, have travelled to 120+ countries and have lived in the same home for 42 years. Because of their good fortune, they feel strongly about giving to as many charitable organizations as they can. Aside from the MS Society, they support the Salvation Army, Oakville-Milton Humane Society, their local hospital and various others in small ways each year, especially when neighbourhood children are fundraising. “It’s part of my DNA,” says Cathy. “My parents were very charitable and that’s the example I had growing up. I’ve also volunteered most of my life and that’s charitable giving too.”
While Cathy believes that MS research is probably the most important area to support, she understands that programs and services offered to the MS community are absolutely essential, especially for those that can’t work because of the disease. This means her donations are unrestricted – so the money goes wherever the need is greatest.
When asked why someone should support the MS Society of Canada, even without a personal connection to MS she replied, “Canada has one of the highest rates of MS in the world. And it’s not just older adults diagnosed with the disease, it happens to young people too, even children. It can happen when you least expect it. And it can happen to you and yours.”