Do you have an MS hero?
Hero is not a word that should be used lightly, but reserved for people who truly inspire, or leave us with a sense of awe at their accomplishments or their outlook.
MS heroes are not necessarily the people who make the news or have famous names, or the ones who manage impressive physical feats. Some of my MS heroes don’t even have multiple sclerosis.
My heroes are the people with disabilities that I see in public settings, going about their business under trying circumstances. Some are using wheelchairs, canes, or walkers; others are not, but walk with subtle hints of hidden disability. They press on, not oblivious to the fast walkers scurrying by in their impatience at the slow movers in their midst. By virtue of the fact that they are in public, doing what needs to be done, is a lesson in persistence and determination.
My heroes are the friends and acquaintances who accept that someone they care about has a chronic illness, but don’t allow it to color every conversation or occasion, briefly taking the spotlight off illness and encouraging a sense of normalcy.
My heroes are the all the kind-hearted people with MS and similar conditions, who reach out to comfort others and to share their insight with anyone who needs them. The power of their support is impossible to quantify. Within this group there is a special bond and a unique level of understanding. Sometimes it takes only a meeting of the eyes to say it all.
Honorable mentions go to all the nameless folks who ever noticed my struggle and stopped to hold a door; and the woman on the bus who offered me her seat; and the stranger who stopped to ask if I needed assistance; and the cashier who assisted in lifting my purchase up to the counter; and the acquaintance who once joined me in “chair dancing,” so I wouldn’t feel left out of the fun.
My heroes, for the most part, don’t know they are my heroes. They hear the “thank you,” but are unaware that their seemingly insignificant gestures hold such great weight. I carry those moments with me so that I can, in turn, pass them along to someone else.
How does the world see us? We can never truly know, but with every word and gesture we make a difference in the world, whether it be positive or negative. Just think about it… at this very moment, you may be a hero to someone else.
Let’s celebrate the heroes (with MS or not) in our lives. Give your heroes a tip of the hat in the comment section below.
Writer Ann Pietrangelo embraces the concept of personal responsibility for health and wellness. As a multiple sclerosis patient, she combines a healthy lifestyle and education with modern medicine, and seeks to provide information and support to others. She is a regular contributor to Care2.com’s Reform Health Policy blog in Causes.