Paige and Nicky L'Hommedieu: Helping to get the voices of MS heard
Multiple sclerosis has been part of Paige L’Hommedieu’s life for more than five decades, ever since his mother developed the disease in about 1960. “I don’t believe our family had ever heard of the disease at the time,” he said.
But they learned quickly. “My father became intensely interested in MS, and I believe my mother benefited from some initiatives that were in very early stages at that time,” Paige, a retired trust administrator, said. “After they both passed away, I tried to continue their interest. I saw what MS does and what can happen to families not as fortunate as mine, which had the resources to make my mother’s life easier.”
Since 1997, Paige and Nicky L’Hommedieu have sponsored about 750 people with MS to attend the Society’s annual Public Policy Conference in Washington D.C., and get their voices heard.
“No one can tell our story in Washington more convincingly than a person with MS,” Paige said. “Our ambassadors are not paid lobbyists. They are individuals who know MS firsthand and thus can convey our message with sincerity and legitimacy.”
Paige and Nicky, married 53 years, have joined the MS activists they sponsor in visiting Congressional offices to raise awareness and discuss Society priorities with their federal legislators.
“We were so moved and proud to be part of their team. The interest of all of us is of course to alleviate and eventually eradicate the disease. Government support is crucial to that effort. Representatives and senators need to know that, and it is our job to tell them,” said Paige.
Paige maintains his connection to MS activism “to honor my father, who put so much into it. I was close to him and it seemed natural to continue his interest in MS,” he said. “Although no one else in our family has MS, we know it could surface again. We want to do all we can to make this problem for future generations an easier one.”