Read these inspiring stories about people living with MS in the Greater Delaware Valley:
LuzSelenia Loeb started volunteering her skills for the MS Society as a photographer in 2012 after her brother was diagnosed with MS. Just one year later, Luz lost her vision and was also diagnosed with MS.
As a single mother of three, life for Luz was challenging enough. Although Luz regained her eyesight, MS attacks have made walking difficult. However, MS has not stopped Luz or her children – two of whom have received MS Society education scholarships – from forging ahead. Luz still volunteers when she is able and takes part in Walk MS Philadelphia every year.
"Whenever I’ve needed something, the National MS Society has been there. Not only have they provided direct assistance, but they’ve also connected me to other people living with MS – and that has been invaluable and truly life changing."
As a special education teacher working with autistic children, Kendra LeMauro of Cherry Hill had found her mission. But in 2015, everything changed.
The right side of Kendra’s body became numb and she couldn’t walk. At first, she thought it was a stroke. Then an MRI showed the lesions indicative of MS. MS meant the end of her career and has forever changed the lives of her children who are now 12 and 6. The good news is that Kendra is able to walk with a cane and she wants to give back by mentoring other people who are newly diagnosed.
"I am so grateful to everyone who raises money for MS. You helped make my house more accessible and provided emotional counseling when my family needed it. And when you have MS, knowing that someone is there to help makes all the difference in the world."
In the midst of getting licensed to be an architect, Michael Black-Smith’s speech started to slur and his right side went numb. The onset of MS was sudden and severe, and in June 2009 he was officially diagnosed.
He was able to get his license, but due to his symptoms he had to stop working. That first year, he went through a state of denial. He tested out multiple different treatment options, all while dealing with the many unknowns of what his future would look like. That’s when he reached out to the MS Society and attended a support group. It was helpful, but five years ago, he and his wife decided to start their own group for couples dealing with the challenges of MS.
"We were dealing with issues like what happens to my career, and do we start a family. The biggest thing the MS Society has done for me is to facilitate that support group and publicize it to the community."
For more information about the Champions program as it relates to Bike MS, please visit the City to Shore and Bike to the Bay websites.