Hosting bus trip to MGM Grand for Toni Braxton and Babyface concert.
BLOOMFIELD, Conn. – Bloomfield resident Paul Wilson has experienced nearly every symptom associated with multiple sclerosis.
The list includes loss of balance, vertigo, fatigue, slurred speech, cognitive issues and painful muscle spasms.
In the beginning, he would often fall, earning the nickname “tumblebug” from his aunt. He joked that AAA became his best friend because he would often lock his keys in his car. He even fell asleep at the wheel on two different occasions. Yet somehow, Wilson was able to maintain a positive attitude throughout.
However when his MS symptoms interfered with his passion for singing, Wilson was more than frustrated.
“I could never finish a song because I would become dizzy, and my speech slurred,” said Wilson, who is known by his friends as Bashy. “I felt drunk, it was so strange. I would say my equilibrium was off. I didn’t know it was MS at the time.”
Whenever Wilson encounters symptoms, he turns to faith and of course – to music.
“I would listen to music or just pray to God to keep a positive mindset,” said Wilson, who works as a service specialist at The Hartford. “I didn’t know why my body was acting this way, but music gave me strength to press on.”
Wilson, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2009, participates each year in the annual Walk MS event and this year will sing the national anthem in Cheshire. He is also an active volunteer, spreading awareness through advocacy campaigns and will also be featured in a long-term photo essay project with West Hartford photographer Mike Marques.
Paul "Bashy" Wilson reaches for a high-note during a photo shoot at Black Eyed Sally's in Hartford. The shoot was part of long-term photo essay project with West Hartford photographer Mike Marques. Wilson will host a bus trip to MGM Grand for the Toni Braxton and Babyface concert. For tickets, please call Paul Wilson at 860-833-5299.
Yet somehow, he feels the urge to do more.
“I thought, ‘What can I do?’” said Wilson. “I need to do something. I love music and wanted to do something which I know a lot of people would enjoy. So last month, I came up with an idea.”
On Friday, March 23, Wilson will coordinate a coach bus trip to the MGM Grand at Foxwoods casino for the Toni Braxton and Babyface concert and donate proceeds to the Connecticut Chapter. However, Wilson promises this is no ordinary bus trip.
“We’re going to make it fun,” said Wilson, who recently auditioned in New York City for NBC’s hit show The Voice. “We have some designer sunglasses and other cool prizes that we’re going to raffle off during the ride down, and of course we’ll be singing and dancing the night away.”
The cost for the trip is $75 per person or $140 per couple. The fee includes dinner at the casino, a betting chip, a ticket for a drawing to be held on the bus and entrance into the concert.
“I have MS and these proceeds will help fund research,” said Wilson, who occasionally experiences tingling sensations on his right side but is otherwise, for the most part, symptom free thanks to early treatment. “This is not only for me, but all of the more than 6,000 people in Connecticut who live with this disease. Help me help others; we want a cure.”
Wilson’s fundraiser is an example of Do It Yourself fundraising. The Connecticut Chapter receives numerous inquiries each year from individuals and organizations wishing to stage their own fundraising events to help in the fight against MS. These volunteer-coordinated events are run by interested volunteers independently from the chapter, and can include golf tournaments, bake sales, wine tastings, casual dress days and more.
The bus will leave from the Windsor and Bloomfield commuter lot on Cottage Grove Road in Bloomfield at 5 p.m. on Friday, March 23. To purchase tickets, contact Paul Wilson at 860-833-5299 or Paulette Dwyer-Powell at 860-840-8688. Tickets must be purchased on or before March 9.
To learn more or start your own Do It Yourself fundraising event or to learn more about multiple sclerosis and the many ways to get involved, please visit the Connecticut Chapter’s website at www.ctfightsMS.org.