Susie Mathews co-owns a pottery art studio in Peoria, manages her own business, and loves to take the lead in her life. She carries the same attitude even when she is dealing with MS. When Susie was diagnosed with MS in 2002, she was afraid of her situation and worried about her medication, which didn’t seem to be working well. But by volunteering with the National MS Society, Susie realized she can empower herself to combat the disease. “Volunteering is a way to take charge of your illness. By being part of the process of finding a cure and developing better medication, I face MS actively rather than sitting back and waiting passively,” she said. “If I can’t get rid of it, I need to lead it. I have to be the boss.”
After starting her volunteering with roles including handing out water and cheerleading in Walk MS events, Susie is also now more involved with another area - the National MS Society’s advocacy effort. She participated in the MS Action Day in Springfield for the past two years, sat down with the senators, met with representatives, and wrote letters to elected officials. Everywhere she goes, Susie tells people about life with MS. “I remember two years ago when I first met one of the congressmen, he had never heard of MS. But after just a five-minute talk, he told me, ‘That sounds great! I want to be on board’,” she said.
Susie believes that everyone can make a difference. “Sometimes people don’t think they can do anything, especially people with illness. But no job is too small, no effort is too little, and no one is too insignificant. If we are willing to take part, we can all be counted.”