Quad Cities: Samantha Mayhew & Megan Wentland - National Multiple Sclerosis Society

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Quad Cities: Samantha Mayhew & Megan Wentland

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Megan Wentland

Why did you decide to participate in Walk MS?
I had heard about Walk MS during the process of my diagnosis. I was pretty sure I had MS, but I didn't have the official diagnosis from the doctor yet. In February 2013, I had my most recent flare up, and I was sitting at the infusion center. I looked down at my lab paper and saw the words ... multiple sclerosis ... finally! I felt a sense of relief and knew right away that I needed to get a team together for the walk in May.
 
What’s your favorite thing about Walk MS?
My favorite thing was seeing all of the supporters, selflessly giving up their time and energy to support this awesome cause. So many awesome people gathered together to raise awareness and funds for research to help the millions of people with MS.
 
How many years have you participated in the event?
This year will be my second Walk MS event.
 
What are a few things you wish people understood about multiple sclerosis?
No two people have the exact same MS journey. The location of lesions will depend on what type of symptoms each person will have. I have also learned about the emotional and cognitive symptoms that can occur with MS, which I did not fully understand before my diagnosis.
 
What’s the most important, meaningful or memorable connection you have made since being diagnosed with MS or having someone close to you diagnosed?
My diagnosis has strengthened my connection with God. One of my first flare ups happened when my third son was just 20 days old. It was overwhelming and scary, and I wasn't sure how to make sense of it all. I like stability, and I like to be in control. During this time, I was feeling like I had no control of my life. As we know, MS is unpredictable, and I will likely have lots of ups and downs. No amount of worry is going to change that for me. My diagnosis has taught me that I have to let go of my anxiety and worry and trust in Him. I also have a cousin with MS, who was diagnosed shortly before me. It's nice to have someone to talk to who knows what I am going through.
 
What makes you a great Walk MS Ambassador?
When I was first diagnosed, it helped me to hear other stories. It made me feel like I was on a team, and I wasn't alone. I could choose to keep my story to myself and go on with my life. But if I can make someone else feel like they are not alone and spread awareness about MS, then that is exactly what I want to do.
 
What makes your MS story unique? 
I have been a physical therapist for more than 10 years. I have treated many clients with MS during that time. During the process of my diagnosis, I learned first hand what it is like to be the patient. I think it has given me another level of compassion and understanding when working with clients and their families. I try to remember to look at the big picture, not just the physical needs.
 

Samantha Mayhew

Why did you decide to participate in Walk MS?
I participate in Walk MS because I have MS, and my father also has MS. Any and all support we can get to end this disease is a blessing.
 
What’s your favorite thing about Walk MS?
My favorite thing about Walk MS is the support from the community. It's so great seeing our community come together in support for a cure.
 
How many years have you participated in the event?
This year will be my third Walk MS.
 
What are a few things you wish people understood about multiple sclerosis?
I wish that people understood MS in general. I wish they understood that even though people with MS may look just fine on the outside, on the inside, we are fighting a war every day. We are literally fighting our own bodies. I wish people could understand how embarrassing it is when you can't come up with the right word for something, or you mix words around. I know these things happen to everyone at some point, but for some with MS, this is a common occurrence. I wish people could understand how horrible the heat in summer is for people with MS, how we have to forgo activities and plans because it will be too hot outside. I wish people could understand how living life makes those of us with MS so tired. But above all of this, I wish people could see how in spite of this, a lot of us go on to live our lives as everyone else does, and we hide our MS symptoms. We don't complain, and we continue living!
 
What’s the most important, meaningful or memorable connection you have made since being diagnosed with MS or having someone close to you diagnosed?
The most important connection that I have made is with the National MS Society. The support they've given is so great!
 
What makes you a great Walk MS Ambassador?
I will hopefully make a great ambassador because I am the face of MS. I'm living with it every day. I am your neighbor, I am the lady you pass in the grocery store, I am the nurse who cares for your kids in the doctor's office. I hope people will see that MS affects people in all walks of life and that anyone you meet could have this disease.
 
What makes your MS story unique? 
My story is unique because I am beating MS. I have no outward symptoms, my optic neuritis has gone away and the symptoms have almost completely gone away. My doctor says he's never seen some of these symptoms disappear! Also, I was diagnosed without having any lesions on MRI. I'm probably one of the few to be diagnosed without lesions.
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Megan Wentland

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