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Charlotta Duren, Scholar

The Greater Northwest Chapter works to improve the quality of life for people affected by MS in Alaska, Northern Idaho, Montana and Washington and raise funds for critical MS research. Join the movement toward a world free of MS.

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Charlotta Duren

Charlotta DurenI remember clearly the day everything changed. I came home to hear my mom ask me, "Does it look like one side of my face is slipping?" Her speech was slightly slurred. I remember telling her to call my dad, that she should probably see a doctor. And then I went out roller skating with my friends.

I came home to my mom and dad waiting to talk to me. They told me that the doctors didn't know yet what was going on, but that it was a good thing my mom had gone in to see them. I shrugged it off. Mom couldn't be that sick, she was practically magic.

The following summer was taken up with doctor visits and tests. I remember so well the night my parents came home with grim looks on their faces. I remember my dad sitting me down on my bed to tell me that my mom had multiple sclerosis. I remember holding it together while he was there.

When he left, I searched for the information that he hadn't given me. When I found it, I bawled, I wept, I yelled, I beat my fists into my bed. This was not what I wanted for my mom, this wasn't what she deserved. In the years since her diagnosis, I've seen my mom in ways that most teenagers don't see their parents. I've seen her outrageously depressed and angry beyond all control. I've watched her hallucinate and I've seen her unable to move from exhaustion. Worst of all, I've seen my mom as only a shell of herself, her mind practically eradicated by medications.

I was so angry at MS for a long time. I wanted to personally go into battle with the disease like it was something I could physically grapple with, that I could skewer on a spear or slice in two with a sword. It isn't though. I found that no sword or spear could have any effect on multiple sclerosis. I could never battle this disease for my mom; my anger would never help anything. So I became impassioned. I decided that I would do something with my life that would have an effect on MS. I've realized that I would really like to be a neurologist with personal relationships with my patients. In the end, I'm not sure yet how everything will turn out, but I do know this: Someday I will be able to look a patient in the eyes and say, "Don't worry. We have a cure."

GOALS/ASPIRATIONS

My goal is to become a neurologist with a focus on MS. I want to be able to help other families and patients. In addition to that, I am going to head a foundation that uses Christian music to raise money and awareness for MS and MS research. I don't want other families to have to go through the pain and struggle that my family has gone through. I want to be able to tell other families and patients, "Don't worry, there's a cure."

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