I will share the joys, pains, and dirty little secrets of my life with multiple sclerosis. My goal is to find a reason to convince you to support/share my fight against MS. Please donate today: http://main.nationalmssociety.org/goto/eleanor.
I require more than 30 Efforts, less would create an unsubstantial portrait of the man who needs your support. 30 days is an unrealistic timeline — once discovered, neither accurate words nor the courage to write them, develop so quickly. How many efforts will this take, and how much time will require to share them? I don’t know the answer, so I will just continue writing.
This is Effort Number 34…
What was the first thing you ever really wanted? By “really wanted,” I mean the first goal you ever had — a clear vision so great that the memory of your yearning remains with you today. The mental image I have is as clear as when my desire first formed back in the late spring of 1977. All of New York City held their breath in fear of the next attack by the infamous ‘.44 Caliber Killer’ after the Daily News published portions of a rambling manifesto, promising more bloodshed and violence.
The newspaper article was just one of the seemingly countless stories in our face every day: recounts of the past attacks, details of the search and profiling efforts by the police, and warnings for caution – especially for the young girls and women who seem to be targeted.
I can still perfectly re-create that sensation as I stood on the front porch of our house, looking across the street and over the homes, up to a cloudless sky. Only a child at the time, there was not a thing I could do. There was nothing I could offer to the case; I had neither information of value nor resources to consult. A little boy could not conduct a manhunt for a serial killer. God forbid I came face-to-face with him, there would not have been a thing I could have done. None of that mattered. When you are five years old, the lack of resources, constraints, or any other concerns can stand against clear desire. A good friend of mine taught me one way to accomplish anything if you really know what you want. On that warm afternoon, I stood tall as I closed my eyes and crossed my arms at the wrist. Devoid of all other thoughts and distractions, I concentrated on my wish:
“I want to capture the Son of Sam.”
My story may seem to be a kind of a cross between the cute story of a little kid making a wish, guaranteed to come true if the ritual is performed correctly, and the horror of a five-year-old child captivated by a murderous rampage of a madman. For me, revisiting this moment from 43 years ago is my unique way of attempting to gain clarity in my fight against multiple sclerosis.
Then: I had no concept of the scope of the crimes, the analysis of data collected, the efforts underway, or the tools available to help solve that case.
Now: The National MS Society has an avalanche of data to document disease progression, research in support of efforts to eradicate MS, and an army of experts committed to the fight.
Then: There was nothing I could do to support law enforcement efforts.
Now: Through the National MS Society and NEVER STOP NEVER QUIT, I can help raise the money we need to support research and treatment options. I can raise awareness of the disease and highlight our need to overcome its devastating effects. My donation pleas can fund the scientists, researchers, and support staff required.
Then: I had no voice, no reason for anyone to listen, nothing to say if it did.
Now: I have a story. I have my fundraising messages. I have pictures, postcards, pamphlets, billboards. I have a blog. I have books. I have plenty of reasons for everyone to listen, and much to say when they do.
Then: I had no stake in the game. There was no connection between me and any of the victims, and the probability of one in the future was extremely low.
Now: I am a victim. My friends are victims. Friends/family/caregivers share our pain. The probability our close-knit circle will grow is nearly certain.
I thought about the story as I was lying on my hardwood floor. Not from my fall on January 15th, but from my fall yesterday, March 7th. Nothing really hurt this time, but the accident knocked a thought into my head: What do I really want?
- Do I want to stop the progression of multiple sclerosis?
- Do I want to prevent future cases of MS?
- Do I want to heal and recover from the damage MS has already done?
- Do I want to support care and assistance that will help in the management of MS symptoms?
I could not come up with an answer. Longing for the heart and desire of that five-year-old again, I tried to define what I want in the simplest of terms. When I stood up and walked down the hallway to my bedroom, I noticed the extended trail of blood droplets. Apparently, I knocked the thought into my head harder than expected. I didn’t know what my wish was going to be. As I cleaned up the blood, I wrote this story. It became the tale of a boy who had a want, a yearning so clearly defined, yet had no resources to ever achieve his goal. That boy turned into a man who had more resources than he ever thought imaginable, constantly creating new tools and allies, yet could not define his want. In whatever shape it formed, I knew what my response was and will always be.
My perfectly form words had no beginning when I sat down to write this morning. Remembering that it will only come true if the ritual is performed correctly, I stopped complicating matters; generating this one continuous, uninterrupted thought only after I looked up over my monitors and extended my arms out, crossing them at the wrist. With slow and shallow breaths, I close my eyes and focused on one thing I wanted:
“I want to Defeat MS.”
I hope these stories will inspire you to join my fight in 2020.
Because it is a fight.
The fight is not over and it won’t be over until a cure is found.
It will never stop…nor will we
It will never quit…nor will we
This is why we ride!
Please donate today: http://main.nationalmssociety.org/goto/eleanor
100% of the royalties earned from my books go to the National MS Society, to support our fight: http://neverstopneverquit.com/books
Never Stop… Never Quit…®
Never Stop… Never Quit… Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm. Off.