It’s ironic that I’ve been debating writing this blog post for a couple weeks, would stare at a blank computer screen, tear up or just walk away. Then on Sunday, Jack Osbourne made the announcement that he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
It’s extremely rare that young men are diagnosed with MS. The BFF was diagnosed at age 19.
The BFF had been training for years to make an Olympic Team in speedskating. And he was damn good. And I’m not just saying that because he’s my best friend. No one thought he wouldn’t make the Olympic Team in 2002 and be on his way to Salt Lake City.
Till MS happened. For those that don’t know, MS causes crazy symptoms – your body literally attacks the “insulation” that surrounds the nerves. Numbness, loss of eye sight and balance – all normal symptoms. And each person is different and the way that their body responds is different (it can be stress related or even due to changes in temperature). There are different types of MS and for some people, they never know when these “episodes” will occur.
That’s how it is for The BFF.
When you are 18 years old, and your best friend – who you admire and look up to – is diagnosed with a disease like MS, you really have no idea what to say or do. Mostly, it was just listen. And try not to cry when you would hear things like “I won’t be able to throw my son a baseball. Or walk my daughter down the aisle.” (Typically, I’d cry after I either was out of his sight or off the phone.)
The disease sucks. The BFF missed his opportunity – which he so deserved – to make an Olympic Team. He had to shoot himself with a needle to deal with the MS every day (now he’s on an oral medication).
And there’s no cure. Which is the worst part. Yes, being an athlete I do think made it easier on him cause he knows his body so well. But there’s nothing easy about having a disease like MS.
This year, I’m supporting a local Cleveland event for the National MS Society and am hoping you will consider joining in – especially since I know so many of you are winos out there. Locavore (a person who makes an effort to eat food that is grown, raised, or produced locally, usually within 100 miles of home) is an annual event, featuring wine and food pairings. This year the event will be held at Windows on the River on September 7th, with two ticket options available ($75 and $95). This is the perfect opportunity for young professionals to get involved with the National MS Society at a local level.
In the weeks/months ahead, I’m going to be writing more about MS, The BFF and what you can do to help (plus plan on giving away a pair of tickets to this awesome event). If you want to get involved or help prior to the event, email me and let me know. We’ll be looking for sponsors, donations and raffle prizes!
And if someone you know is struggling with this awful disease – reach out to the MS Society – they have a lot of resources, educational materials and support groups.