Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Put this on your calendar ...

Posted By on Wed, Apr 22, 2009 at 10:14 AM

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Laugh MS at Lake Norman Comedy Zone on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 to benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and Charlotte's Walk MS.

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The event will feature co-headliners Frankie Paul and David L from Brotha Fred's AM Mayhem.

Doors open at 7 p.m. and show starts at 8.

Not only will the show make you "LOL," but it raises money to help fight the progressive, incurable disease known as Multiple Sclerosis ... the disease my sister is fighting.

To give you some insight into Multiple Sclerosis and my family's battle with the disease, I have enclosed an article I wrote for the National MS Society newsletter...

By Brittney Cason

As told to by Kimberly Cason

When my sister, Kim, told me that she had Multiple Sclerosis I honestly didn’t even know what the disease was. She was so positive about it, and so assuring that it was no big deal that I just shrugged it off as my big sis having the flu. She’ll get a shot or something and be fine, right? Not exactly. I started researching Multiple Sclerosis feverishly like a medical student. I couldn’t believe my findings – the facts shed my optimism: the progressiveness, the lack of a cure... This cannot be happening to my sister, I thought. Not Kim. Kim can fight this, and she has an army to fight with her, myself included. She stayed active and tried to put mind over matter; meanwhile I just refused to believe that she had an illness worse than the flu. But Kim recently received news that I was in denial of ever hearing, and Kim didn’t expect to hear so soon. And now we both have to face the reality. She has Multiple Sclerosis.

“My recent MRI revealed I have MS in my spinal cord. Nurse Anita from my neurologist's office and I talked about the findings on the phone. She advised me not to be upset because I was in the early stages of decline and I’m also still in remitting relapsing stage of the disease.”

Decline? Kim’s not going anywhere but up, and she’s not going to look anywhere but up either. Kim decided the only way she could be about the situation is positive, with her “I’m strong, so you have to be” persona, she told her family and her coworkers of the sudden and very unwelcomed news. Her sadness and anger was confessed, yet her overall positive attitude radiated an optimistic energy that allowed the people in her life to feel confident in knowing Kim will refuse to decline. But upon hearing the news, her MS did the same thing to her mental state that it was doing to her nervous system... damaged it.

“The day couldn’t end fast enough. Before I went to bed, I cried. I just lost it. I was so angry inside. Too much was happening all at once. My divorce was now final and my job was becoming stressful with the upcoming Christmas season. I thought about what had been happening the past four years since my diagnosis on Aug. 27, 2003. Yes, I remember the exact date. How could I forget? Several weeks before my diagnosis, I was becoming so frustrated because I couldn’t read my own handwriting My boss, Lisa, concerned for me, urged me to see my family doctor. So I went, he scheduled a CAT scan and the results showed I may have Lupus. He arranged for me to see the neurologist and the diagnosis of MS was confirmed. One of my co-workers asked me why I smiled when hearing I had such a terrible disease. My reply was simply, "I don't have lupus." I was more relieved about that than anything. A family friend had passed away from lupus complications some years earlier, so MS felt like I was getting off easily. Over the course of the next four years, I faithfully gave myself the weekly injection of Avonex. I hate needles, but I still make myself do this important weekly "event" as I like to call it. But then I remembered how grateful I was for all the support given to me over the past four years. Biogen has me on their special program so I get my medication free as $1000/month by no means in my budget. Because they were helping me I decided to do what I could to say thank you in return, so I held a singing competition to raise money for the MS Society.”

Kim loves to sing; music is her passion, and it’s also her escape from her disease. So in helping her plan the fundraiser I called in a favor to my friend at a radio station. He recruited country star Chely Wright to donate her time to the MS Society and perform in conjunction with the singing competition. The entire town showed their support and Kim raised thousands of dollars for the MS Society just by making her passion into a philanthropy. And while she was at it she got to share the stage with a famous country singer. The picture of Chely Wright, the singing competition winners, along with her and I, sits on the shelf in Kim’s office. “I will never forget that night,” Kim says. That’s a night she should remember; whereas the days where she the news she dreaded are days she should forget. She needs to forget that her MS has spread to her spinal cord. She must fail to acknowledge that she’s in decline. She should refuse to accept her recent diagnosis of Uveitus. She must pay no mind to the numbness in her hands, and the pains in her neck. She must forget that she’s sick. She just needs to remember living and think about only it. She needs to heal her mind first.

“I started the next day feeling sorry for myself. But then I received an e-mail from my Aunt Charlotte that completely turned my moping around. She was a recent Breast Cancer survivor and she shared with me a prayer that she says quite often. "O Lord, you are my strength. Endlessly, when I realize I cannot change anything on my own, I turn everything over to God. Even if there is still pain, there is also peace." After reading this, I realized I no longer felt sorry for myself. Early stage of decline and still in remitting relapsing stage of MS is what I had been told. It could be years before I get worse, if I even do. So, now I plan to think more positive about the situation I am in now. Just because of my aunt's prayer, I have realized I have too much time on my hands to quit now. So, hang in there, do not let this disease get you down. Live one day at a time.”

Key word here being live. Don’t be a victim to the disease. Just live.

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