Meet Walk MS St. Cloud Walk Ambassador Nicole Wadtke, mother diagnosed January 2000
In what way has MS made the biggest impact on your life?
My mom being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis has brought us closer to each other. If it hadn’t been for MS, we may not be as close as we are today. Because of MS, I am able to connect with my mom on a level that is different from any other mother/daughter relationship.
MS has also brought new friends in to my life. As a child, I attended Youth Camp through the National MS Society. Not only did I meet other youth with an MS connection, but we became great friends, and to this day, we talk almost weekly!
Why did you decide to participate in Walk MS?
I wanted to get involved in as many National MS Society related events as possible, and Walk MS just happened to come up first in my ever so technical, Google search! What I found on Google that day inspired me. I saw tons of people rallying together for one common goal, to create a world free of MS, and I knew I had to be a part of it.
What’s your favorite thing about Walk MS?
I very much enjoy the energy that surrounds Walk MS. I love the hype leading up to the walk, raising funds and creating a team. I find walk day to be full of optimism and spark. The volunteers are always cheery and the walkers are peppy! Walk MS is one of the only places I have seen this much excitement about an event!
How many years have you participated in the event?
May of 2013 will be my 9th year at Walk MS. For the first seven years, I was a captain of a Team of the Future Branch Team, walking with other teens that I recruited from school and other extracurricular activities.
Are you involved in the National MS Society in other ways besides Walk MS?
Of Course, I wouldn’t have it any other way! I love the work of the National MS society and I love being a part of it! I’ve participated in and volunteered for more events and programs to count!
What is one thing you wish people could understand about MS?
I wish that people would understand that a positive attitude is everything! My mom is doing as well as she is because she keeps her chin up and doesn’t let her MS win. My mom has MS, but MS does not have her, she is in charge, in control. I hope that everyone can learn the art of a positive attitude, it’s not easy, but it is worth it.
What is the most important, meaningful or memorable connection you have made since being diagnosed with MS or having someone close to you diagnosed?
I have been attending MS Youth Camp since it began in the summer of 2000. The people I have met through Youth Camp are some of the greatest resources and some of the best friends I have ever had. This includes counselors, society staff, fellow campers and the campers I have been a counselor to. The support system that is built at camp cannot compare to any other group of people I am close to. I know I can always count on my camp group to help me through the rough times, and that is something I will always cherish.
What makes you a great walk ambassador?
I feel that I have grown up with this event, and I can speak volumes for the staff and volunteers that organize it. For so long, I have participated in the event and it is my turn to give back. I am a great public speaker and an awesome MS activist.
What makes your story with MS unique?
When my mom was diagnosed with MS, she was a single parent and I was the only child. For a couple months, I got my 7-year-old self up dressed and ready for school. I made mom breakfast before I left in the morning, lunch when I got home in the mid afternoon and dinner in the evening. I think the unique thing about this story is that, MS brought us together. My mom’s disability allowed us time to bond, time that we might not have had, being that before MS, my mom was working more than 50 hours a week and getting ready to go back to college.
Nicole may be reached for interviews at firstname.lastname@example.org. To speak with a National MS Society, Upper Midwest Chapter spokesperson, please contact Anna at 612-335-7918 or email@example.com.
Walk MS 2013
Join Nicole and thousands of others by getting involved in Walk MS. To learn more, register or donate, visit myMSwalk.org.