If You Have a Chronic Illness Like Me, I Encourage You to Take That First Step
Taking the first step of signing up for a marathon, 5K, 10K or even a popular themed race can seem like a challenge for a lot of people. Imagine facing that mountain while living with muscular dystrophy (MD) where fear, self-doubt and pain are all reasons to give up. After coming to terms with where I was physically and emotionally with my MD, I decided enough was enough.
No one wins by shrinking back in the face of a challenge, and I knew neither would I. I realized it was time for me to not just endure the process of being diagnosed with muscular dystrophy but to fight back. I decided to take the initiative to learn everything I could about my condition and find the resources that could help me. I started to receive referrals from my community and doctors about getting connected with the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), and that’s exactly what I did.
Just a few months ago I completed my second annual MDA Walk at Boston Commons. The first time I participated as a speaker and a ribbon cutter, but I knew this year would be even more special. Completing this walk wasn’t just about bragging rights — it was also about raising awareness and funds and connecting with people who face similar struggles as I do. It allowed me to meet so many people, make new friends and opened the door to many opportunities. I was so happy to raise $1,500 for the organization, but everything I have gained over the last two years has far exceeded any dollar amount.
If I didn’t have the help and support of my family and friends through my journey with MD, I wouldn’t have made it this far. I’m here to let you know you don’t have to travel this road alone. As the Massachusetts State Ambassador for MDA I want to give you a little nudge. If you’re thinking about participating or getting connected with an organization that can possibly help you cope with whatever chronic illness you may face, I encourage you to take the first step! Take a deep breath, look yourself in the mirror and remind that beautiful face staring back at you that, “You are not alone. You are worth the effort. There are hundreds of people just like you who are looking for answers.”There are so many new connections and relationships out there waiting for you on the other side of having a chronic illness.
It is possible to live a meaningful and fulfilling life with MD. Whether you link up with a local organization, find the courage to finally come to terms with whatever you may be battling or if you just need to know you’re not alone on this journey, I’m here to tell you again… take that first step! I remember what it was like to be diagnosed, to be in denial and to not want to deal with what was happening to my body. But guess what? I didn’t let MD get in the way of living a purpose-filled and impact-focused life.
I encourage you to talk with your doctor and sign up for that walk, whatever or wherever it may be. Join the local organization that specializes in providing resources for what you need, and don’t be afraid to share your journey along the way. It started with a registration form for me, but walking into my purpose was only possible after I took that first step.
What step will you take today?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.