I knew it would be an honour to emcee this year’s MS Walk in my hometown, where 1,000+ participants shared the same goal – to help raise vital funds for people living with MS. But I couldn’t predict how truly moved I would be by the experience.
Before the group embarked on the annual trek, my good friend Heather led a Zumba class to warm up our walkers. I joined Heather’s team of dancers and dignitaries in some exhilarating soca, salsa and meringue moves, but found myself a little light-headed. I moved to the back of the stage and watched everyone enjoy Heather’s routine.
As I stood there, I read the dancers’ walker bibs, focusing on the names of ‘who they are walking for.’ Suddenly, I found myself crying with gratitude. I didn’t know these people, but they were there to support the MS Society and share in our vision.
The final song ended and I went back to the stage to encourage the walkers to begin their route. Instead, I sobbed so hard that I could barely speak. It took a minute of deep breathing, but I managed to pull myself together and explain that I was crying because I was so grateful. I wished our participants well, and with enthusiasm, off they went to walk for MS.
I was still overcome with emotion when I approached Heather to thank her. Not only did she contribute her Zumba skills to our event, she brought an entire team of dancers who also walked for MS, helping people they don’t even know.
The generosity of every participant made it impossible to focus on what I don’t have. I am simply thankful for what I did have that day: a network of supporters.
I didn’t expect to cry that day, but I wasn’t ashamed of how I felt or acted. I was infused with love, a palpable sense of a connection, a feeling of something far larger than myself. I felt grateful for people that I had never met before. This year’s MS Walk—and my tears—reminded me that MS has brought me more than it has taken away.