When Marlene Surgecoff, of Malden, volunteered to run the World MS Day information table at the Stop & Shop in Revere, she never dreamed the intense connection she would make that day.
Surgecoff’s daughter Melissa, 31, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis four years ago, and Marlene has been active in National MS Society events ever since. Staffing the information table was just another way to spread the word about the disease.
Surgecoff and her friend Brenda Goode set up their table early Saturday morning with informational brochures, orange balloons, and a special treat for visitors.
“We made ribbon lollipops…” said Marlene.
They also donned silly orange headbands as an ice breaker to anyone looking for information, but who might be a little too shy to ask.
“It made people more receptive to talk with us,” said Surgecoff. “We are just fun loving people.”
It worked. They were approached by numerous people going in and out of the grocery store.
“I was taken by how many people had a family member or knew someone who did (have MS).”
But it was one woman and her daughter who made the biggest impact on Surgecoff that day. They were about the same age as Marlene and Melissa Surgecoff. The woman approached Marlene and said, her daughter also had been diagnosed with MS.
“The mom started to cry,” said Marlene. As she handed the woman a tissue, she talked with her “relaying from mom to mom.”
“It was such a nice bonding, one mom’s sadness to another,” said Surgecoff. It was also one mom’s hope to another.
“I gave (her) my phone number (and said); if they need any resources…I will find the resources for them.”
Every connection counts.
If you or someone you know has MS, contact the National MS Society to learn what resources and help are available to you, 1-800-344-4867, wwwMSnewengland.org