Bob Noe: "While I can, I will!"
Bob Noe of Columbia, SC began experiencing symptoms in 1978 when MS was difficult to diagnosis without MRI technology. Shortly after his initial symptoms, he experienced remission for 22 years before officially being diagnosed in 2000. In 2000 he retired from his job as Executive Director of the SC Governor's Partnership for Distance Learning because, says Bob, "I did not have the energy to do this. I had enough years to retire when I was diagnosed in 2000 so I did, thinking I better prepare myself to do other work besides what I was doing."
Shortly after he retired, Bob was hired back part-time which worked well because he could set his own half-day hours. Unfortunately, the extensive travel, walking, and presentations were too much to handle and in 2006 he left the organization. "[I am] still bothered by fatigue and cognitive impairment," says Bob.
Bob now serves on the board of Learning Forward SC, a professional development state-wide association. Says Bob, "I have organized two successful conferences including marketing, registration and programming. I have been on [the] board for five years and [have] found professional satisfaction here. I have also organized the largest non-profit recycling day in Columbia with the county waste agency. In one day we had 700 cars come by our church and drop off recycling of all kinds. I did the planning and marketing."
While adjusting to life with MS, Bob began engaging with the National MS Society in 2003. "I have been trained as [an] MS Ambassador and have made several talks and now I am [a] self-help group leader," says Bob. "I was co-leader for five years. I have been working on the [SC Walk MS events] and have been managing rest stops for [Bike MS: Breakaway to the Beach]. I am presently on the MS Advocacy Team and on the state committee."
Bob doesn't let MS make him feel helpless. He no longer says "why me?" and instead says "why not me? "I have the skills to talk and write about MS to thousands of folks in the community, in churches and with my legislators. I will, when I can!" Bob says.
This motto, "While I can, I will!" is how Bob now lives his life. When asked about his goals for the future, Bob is extremely positive. "I am not in a wheel chair or walker," says Bob. "I still cannot be on my feet long and walking is limited. I build many wood projects for my home and grandkids [and] I do anything I think I can, when I can. It always takes me longer...much longer, but I get it done."