Living by her motto, “enjoy the ride,” since she was diagnosed with MS in 2005, Tamiko (Tami) Ryan has become a Bike MS Champion, an MS Ambassador, a South Central trustee and – most recently – an MS activist. After scheduling her first meeting with Representative Michael Burgess, MD, during Congress’ August recess, Tami heard him speak at a public forum prior to their scheduled meeting. “I wanted to get a feel for him. He’s always trying to meet with his constituents to get a better feel for what they need. Not only is he a politician, he is a doctor, and he really understands MS as the Co-Chair of the MS Caucus.” Tami recalls, “During our meeting, the Representative took the time to explain the how a bill is passed. You hear about the gridlock and the fiscal responsibility and the debates on TV, and to hear that process from him really helped me appreciate the work our elected officials do.” Tami so enjoyed her August-recess visit that it sparked an interest in advocacy which led her to register for her local State Action Day.
Tami reminds fellow activists that, “our government is here to serve us as citizens. Advocating for MS priorities will lead to laws and reforms that will make a very concrete difference in the lives of people affected by MS. The ACA is a personal example of that advocacy for me.” As a small business owner, Tami could not access adequate health insurance until the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was implemented. “For me, the only way to get healthcare coverage was to change the law, and the only way to change the law was to get involved. Do not be deterred by the 100+ page bills on Capitol Hill. Focus on you, focus on your important story. I have indeed ‘enjoyed the ride’ as a volunteer for the National MS Society because every position I take on has been valuable and rewarding. I could never have imagined where the journey would take me, but I’m glad I made the first step to get involved.”
Join Tami as an MS activist today.