Thursday, April 19, 2012

Women Against Multiple Sclerosis: "The key to disability is mobility"

Since Driving To Independence participates in many community events we are often invited to luncheons. Usually, this is an opportunity for us to network with people in or surrounding our industry, enjoy a good lunch and also provide education on the most recent research or issues on a specific topic. This week I was invited to attend the 7th Annual WAMS (Women Against Multiple Sclerosis) Luncheon at the Arizona Biltmore. I have not participated in any events hosted by WAMS, but as a Women and Gender studies major I am always interested in seeing how the power of women uniting can make a difference- and I must say this Luncheon did not let me down.

There were about 350 people at this lunch. I met an amazing group of women of all ages with varying levels of experience living with MS. I met some brilliant doctors who spoke on the most recent research and treatments of MS and who inspired by promoting “the key to disability is mobility.”  I learned about the MS Society and their mission “to create a world free of multiple sclerosis.”
I will admit, I was a little disappointed by the lunch served. Of course, I was impressed by the prestige of the Arizona Biltmore and when they brought out the salad (which I expected to be an appetizer) I was impressed by the size and quality of the salad. But when they took the salad away- and handed me desert- I realized that a $75 lunch ticket bought me a salad as the main course. But, as I said, the luncheon didn’t let me down.
The presentation brought tears to my eyes. Kate Milliken was the keynote speaker. Ms. Milliken is a film and television producer who was diagnosed with MS while living in New York City as a 30 something single woman in 2006. She shared her story of how her diagnosis of MS was one of the best things that happened to her. It provided a new appreciation for life and motivation; it inspired healthy changes and allowed her to meet some of the world’s most courageous peoples. Ms. Milliken recently produced the We Keep Moving  video series which is a documentary following individuals discussing how they keep moving regardless of MS. She concluded her presentation by encouraging people to get involved- and that you don’t have to have a disability or disease to be inspired by her message. This is true.
Anyway, today I was reminded that sometimes lunch is not about the food you are served, but the experience you are given. And the desert was amazing.