Mary Hobson and Brandt Wilkins. Photos by Glory Weisberg
Brandt Wilkins has multiple sclerosis and at last week’s MS On The Move Luncheon, I asked him how long he’s had it and his reply, “Like I never had it.”
We remember when he wasn’t looking so healthy years ago and here he is today, amazing us and so happy he can’t even remember the year he was first diagnosed!
MS is incurable but with benefits, such as this annual luncheon, research is coming up with new therapies and as Marc Spritzer, speaking briefly as he accepted the inaugural Spirit Award, said, MS “needs to be wiped off the face of the earth.”
Keynote speaker Ronda Giangreco said, “This disease will go the way of polio,” asking guests to give an “end to this (MS) now” donation.
And with that, a ballroom full of supporters got to writing out donation forms.
Griangreco told her own MS story.
“I woke up numb on one side of my body” one day and she went to the emergency room. She was told she’d had a stroke. Then the other side of her body went numb and a number of weeks later she was diagnosed with MS. That was 2008.
She considers her MS a “blurse, a blessing+ Curse.” For the whole story, buy her book, The Gathering Table: Defying MS with a Year of Pasta, Wine & Friends.
On the luncheon committee were David Alexander, Paige Burkeholder, Daya Haddock, Melissa Hart, Katy Spritzer, Ellen Petrilla and Claudia Curry Hill.
Among those who RSVPd for the luncheon were Claire Buhl, Sue Simos, Debra Fagan, Kristin Gibbs, Alexis, Gene and Marilyn Johnson, Daok and Connie Jacoway, John and Shoshanna Kregarman, Hon. Mary Mullarkey and about 350 others.
For information, visit www.curemsco-wy.org.
‘The Art of Living’
The Sept. 23 issue of Time magazine has an extensive article, “The Art of Living,” by Jeffrey Kluger. In that article there are several points, one stating, “Multiple studies show that happiness contributes to longer life, reducing heart disease, diabetes and more.” They also cite an August research review in BMC Public Health that “doing volunteer work-in places such as hospitals and soup kitchens that allow direct contact with the people you’re helping may lower mortality rates by as much as 22 percent compared with those of non-volunteers.” Making such social connections, according to results from that review and others, increases life satisfaction and reduces depression and loneliness and in turn lowers the risk of hypertension, stroke, dementia and more.
There are numerous cultural and medical nonprofits allowing such contact, so if you’re a newly empty nester, read our Fleurish pages and seek out organizations to call and ask about volunteering with clients. I would start with the Cherry Creek Schools Foundation or your nearest district school.
And speaking of schools, the Wall Street Journal ran a letter to the editor regarding, “Charities, Rich Colleges, Taxes and the Common Weal.”
The letter writer, John Dematteo, noted that the newspaper’s Aug. 20, “Why Shouldn’t Princeton Pay Taxes,” (the authors) “ignore that we, as a society through our legislatures, have granted nontaxable status to charities because of the benefits that we receive from these intervening institutions.
“Forcing charities to make tax payments weakens the charities, therefore weakening society generally, to the benefit of government with its top-down bureaucratic control.”
The rather longish letter goes on with this same angle, ending with “one should be aware that hospitals, museums and private schools are next, many of which already struggle financially.”
We know that most of you, our readers, are college degreed and we’d like your feedback.
LoDo Loft Tour Oct. 6
HomeSteaders, the Family HomeStead auxiliary, has its LoDo Loft Tour Oct. 6, 1 – 4 p.m., with a VIP reception 4-6 p.m. at 16 Market Square. Michele Pruitt and Mary Ann Wadas are event chairs. Guests will get a panoramic loft view of mountain and city landscapes while enjoying hors d’oeuvres, wine, dessert and music. Four different loft areas are involved.
For ticket info visit www.FamilyHomeStead.org. Funds help families overcome their crisis of homelessness and create stable, sustainable lifestyles for their children.
Marc Spritzer and David Alexander
Our last etiquette column on invisible disabilities got the attention of a throng of supporters, a 50-50 balance of men and women.
Those blue and white hang tags hooked onto the car’s rear view mirror denote the driver’s or passenger’s inability to navigate distances or handle impediments to access. Not all Coloradans have noticeable medical conditions that require easy access and sneers from passersby don’t help the arthritic whose disease may not be immediately evident.
The painful nerves can afflict with only an X-ray’s proof and unless you’re a comic book character with X-ray vision, you can’t see the disability. Arthritis has many forms and causes and there are a wide range of medications and treatments to enable the patient to continue functioning in the world if we all cooperate.
They don’t necessarily wear noticeable movement aids so when you, the nonprofit volunteer or professional staffer, plan an event consider whether the “staging” will accommodate every guest regardless of their motion abilities. Be prepared to provide an inconspicuous ramp, elevator or other device to anyone asking for it.
And for those who have breathing limitations, please consider the stage smoke or other devices that can trigger breathing problems for a ticket buyer. Not all need facially noticeable tubes attached to oxygen so there again, don’t diagnose to justify inaction.
If the inability isn’t visible it’s still necessary to be accommodating, as the guest may be reluctant to ask for such entrance assistance.
As the song said: “Walk a mile in my shoes.” Or question whether everyone could walk to begin with.
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