So last Saturday, a bunch of us — family, friends, well-wishers — rolled out of bed bright and early, donned some jazzy orange t-shirts in the name of Team Spirit, and did a lap around Denver’s City Park with like ten thousand other people to raise awareness (and money) for the National MS Society in their annual “Walk MS” event. We raised a little bit of money, got my cousins’ kids out in the park for a while, and a good time was had by all.
My mom was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1992. A nurse by profession, when she stumbled off of a curb in Santa Fe that summer she muttered to me, “Dang it, I hope I don’t have MS in this leg,” and she had her diagnosis by the end of the year. A lifelong Denver resident, forty-five years old at the time, she fit smack in the middle of the oddly specific demographic at greatest risk for contracting the disease, which for who-knows-what reason affects a disproportionate number of Coloradoans. She was an aerobics instructor and avid runner in those days, and was such a fan of bike rides that she rode the MS 150, a hundred-and-fifty mile fundraiser, for the first few years after her diagnosis, until MS robbed her of sufficient balance to stay upright on the bike. My sister and I rode it with her one year: Day One was so hot that the tires of our bikes actually sank into the asphalt on one memorable hill near Boulder, and on Day Two we rode eighty miles in the pouring rain in trash bags with arm holes ripped in them. For years after, we were largely supportive from the sidelines… Continue reading