When Jami Carter, the pregnant 28-year-old mother of two young boys, was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), the next years proved to be some of the most difficult of her life. Jami underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatments for a year during which she continued to work full time as a library assistant.
Days prior to second anniversary of her last NHL treatment, Jami lost all feeling in her legs. Her oncologist feared an NHL recurrence and urged an emergency visit to the Cancer Center that night. After 30 hours of tests, NHL was ruled out and MS was ruled in. “In just one day, I went from a death sentence to a life sentence. I was officially in remission for cancer and my doctors diagnosed me with MS. Life was difficult, but I could only go up from there.”
Since that day, Jami has thrived. She is now the director of a library, continues to raise her children, and loves her life. Each year, Jami attends Utah Non-Profit Association’s action day which combines the advocacy work for Utah Libraries with her MS activism. In 2014, Jami attended her first National MS Society Public Policy Conference and recalls, “I felt like when we met with people they really connected to the conversation. Members of Congress were interested in what was said, though they receive a lot of information each day, they’re listening.”
Jami’s advice to new activists is simple: “the elected officials you are talking to want to hear your story. It is not only a need, but a want. There is no way that a body of a few hundred people [Congress] can make conscious important lifesaving decisions unless we are willing to spend our time telling our lawmakers what we need today. You can be that person.”