August/September 2014 Heroes of the Month
Elsa A. Rivera, Hero
"I volunteer because I enjoy educating people with MS, along with their family and friends, through peer counseling and leading a monthly bilingual self-help group. I also enjoy being a member of the Government Relations Committee where we advocate the Society’s legislative programs to local and state representatives.
"At the MS Walk in April a Society staff member brought a newly diagnosed woman to speak with me. Within minutes of our conversation, she asked if she could hug me. I am often told I’m very positive, but I will never forget the fear and depression I felt when I was newly diagnosed 15 years ago. It helped her to hear that the emotions she was feeling were not uncommon so early in her diagnosis and that the physical symptoms she was experiencing were common in MS. Volunteering since 2003 and meeting and speaking with hundreds of people during that time have brought me the peace I feel today. Being able to help people is wonderful. I have enjoyed being able to help people as a volunteer."
Cheryl Mellor, Hero
"At university I studied Biological Sciences and my dissertation was on the causes of MS. Throughout my career as a Clinical Scientist in the organ transplantation unit at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in the UK I studied immunology which included subjects in autoimmune diseases. For a long time I have been interested in MS and I became intimately involved with MS when I diagnosed in 2009.
"In 2011, my husband and I moved to the US. I wanted to contribute to furthering our knowledge of this debilitating disease and volunteering at the National MS Society Northern California Chapter was one small way in which I could help. It's been great getting to know the people there and their passion for helping the community. Great progress has been made in developing treatments to manage the disease and insight into the causes may soon lead to a cure, crossed fingers."
Linda Cotter, Hero
"I am an RN and former EMT who has served as a 'medic' at Bike MS: Waves to Wine. I’ve been involved with the MS Society since 1998. It is an easy decision to associate with an organization run by excellent people and to be surrounded by dedicated volunteers and riders all working together to find a lasting cure for MS. The MS Society has become my 'favorite charity' as a way of honoring my hero, my sister, Joany, who had MS for 10 years.
Although there were many setbacks in Joany’s fight with MS, she fought on with the courage of a champion. I gave her the analogy of the tortoise and the hare and told her she was the tortoise. I kept reminding her that the tortoise eventually prevailed over the hare and of the motto, 'slow and steady wins the race.' She may not have bought my fables and analogies, but she pretended to."