Meet Walk MS Fargo Ambassador Sarah DeVries, diagnosed March 2008
Sarah DeVries is this year’s ambassador for Walk MS Fargo. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2008, Sarah says the disease has allowed her to reset her priorities and today, she’s committed to raising awareness about the disease in her community and beyond.
In what way has MS made the biggest impact on your life?
There are so many ways in that MS has made an impact on my life in a positive manner. Receiving the MS diagnosis is a life-changing event, so I knew I needed to make some-changes to my life. My diagnosis allowed me to reset my priorities. I am still able to work full time, but now spend more quality time with my family, who are my number one support team.
Why did you decide to participate in Walk MS?
The first MS Walk in Fargo was one month after my diagnosis. At that time, I had not told many people that I had MS. My sister and I attended the event to see what it was all about. I was very impressed with the enthusiasm, support, and all the educational information the National MS Society provided for the newly diagnosed. It made a difference in my life. It was such a wonderful event so a few coworkers and I started thinking about having a team. Our EB Trekkers team has continued to grow each year.
What’s your favorite thing about Walk MS?
Each year that I attend, I get so overwhelmed by the large number of participants. It is so incredible to have people walk with us. The support of my family, friends and co-workers is overwhelming, inspiring and humbling. I think Walk MS is a great place for obtaining information and educating people about what the National MS Society has to offer those who live with or have a loved one who lives with MS.
How many years have you participated in the event?
This will be my fifth year.
Are you involved in the National MS Society in other ways besides Walk MS?
I have volunteered for Bike MS, participated in the MS adaptive Yoga, and this year, I was fortunate enough to attend the National MS Society Leadership Conference.
What is one thing you wish people could understand about MS?
It is such a unique disease and each of us experiences such different symptoms. Every day is different. Each morning I wake up feeling good, I know it is going to be a fantastic day!
What is the most important, meaningful or memorable connection you have made since being diagnosed with MS or having someone close to you diagnosed?
There are so many to name, but one stands out. As a mother, I am a big believer in educating young people about MS. My daughter is a freshman in college, and during the first week of school, she attended a campus event which was a motivational speaker. During the show, they pulled students from the audience to the stage and asked them the question, “What would you like to do before you die?” My daughter was selected and she answered,” I would like to find a cure for MS for my mom.” While she was leaving the auditorium, another student approached her and told her that his mom was newly diagnosed. She talked with him about her experiences dealing with a parent with MS and told him she would pray for them. Connections, no matter how small or large, are so important!
What makes you a great walk ambassador?
I feel that MS awareness is very important. MS is such a misunderstood disease. It is so important to educate people about MS and how important it is to fund the research for new disease modifying therapies and a cure.
Sarah 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 Sarah and thousands of others by getting involved in Walk MS. To learn more, register or donate, visit myMSwalk.org.