Dennis Bestge, diagnosed in 1990
Dennis Bestge works tirelessly to connect people with MS to resources, raise awareness in his community and advocate for the rights of people with MS.
What are your memories from the day you were first diagnosed?
My thoughts on that August day, just after my birthday, were “What will happen to my family, my life, my work and what am I going to do now? What is MS? What is next? How can I get rid of it?” Plus, my emotions were all over the board, including frustration, sadness and worry about being involved in the activities I enjoyed.
What have you learned from living with MS?
I quickly learned about other people living with MS for some time, each one so different and yet we all shared the same disease. I learned that no two of us are the same and we need to follow the path that fits our situation. I have learned so very much about MS, living with the disease and how to start again.
What is your advice to someone newly diagnosed with MS?
If you are a newly diagnosed person take a deep breath, follow your medical staff’s suggestions and challenge your inner self. You can still make lemonade with whatever is thrown at you — even MS. Registering with the National MS Society is the first step. You need to educate yourself and your family and friends because they will need to understand what you’re going through in your journey with MS. Developing a solid support team and keeping a strong attitude will give you the ability to take on each new challenge you will encounter.
What are you doing to move us a closer to a world free of MS?
I am a self-help group facilitator and each year I provide information for walkers and family members at Walk MS in Alexandria. We have established a speakers bureau to speak to area organizations about MS and the MS Society. I get excited when MS Awareness Week comes each year as I help organize events and get others involved in awareness activities in Alexandria. I also look forward to going to the Capitol Conference each year and keeping up on the legislative issues that affect people with MS.
What do you enjoy most about your participation in the MS movement?
Getting involved with others to move us closer to a world free of MS makes me very happy. I enjoy the caring people who share their time and talents to help in this cause. It is my joy. I feel a close bond with those living with MS, fighting for a cure and working to make us all better informed about this disease.