I Hate Crowds and Asking People for Money
by Janet Gross, R.N.
But This is Why I Walk
Editor’s Note: This article continues the series inspired by DBA President Mary Jo Gross, where guest columnists write about their volunteer/charity involvement. Janet Gross is the sister of Mary Jo Gross, and has attended DBA charitable events with Mary Jo for several years. She thinks our members are intelligent, interesting and giving.
I really don’t like asking people for favors. Even more, I really don’t like asking people for money. And I really don’t like crowds! But every year for the past 10 years I have sent out letters to almost everyone I know — relatives, friends, co-workers, neighbors — asking for money to help combat multiple sclerosis. Then, I go walk around City Park with hundreds of strangers, often on my birthday and often in bad weather.
Why? To understand, you have to know a little about me and a little about MS. I have been a nurse for 23 years. I grew up and worked in an MS belt in Ohio; 18 years ago I moved to Denver, another MS belt. I have relatives, friends, and co-workers who have been diagnosed with MS. I have cared for patients with MS throughout my career, seeing its debilitating effects.
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease of the central nervous system that affects the brain and the spinal cord. One new case is diagnosed every hour. It debilitates, affects vision, and may even paralyze those affected with it. MS usually strikes adults between the ages of 20 and 50. Many are unable to continue working or raising their children. Every time I take care of someone with MS, I think of my cousin who has been confined to a wheelchair for many years or of my friend who had to quit nursing. I feel so very lucky to be healthy.
Medicine usually looks to fix or cure illnesses. Nurses know there is a lot that cannot be fixed. But with your assistance we can help people make the most of the hand they have been dealt. The MS Society not only looks for a cure, but also helps people deal with their disease through therapies, support groups, and equipment.
I raise money and walk with the crowds every year because I am able to do what thousands of people with MS are unable to do — put one foot in front of the other. And maybe, just maybe, the money I raise will make a difference by helping someone cope with MS or by making a cure possible.
Post-script by DBA President Mary Jo Gross:
As she mentioned, my sister Janet has been a registered nurse for 23 years, and has worked at Rose Medical Center for 18 years. She postponed her move to Colorado to care for our terminally ill father, and I am convinced that she relocated here to keep an eye on me and help take care of me. Janet gives to charity regularly and has volunteered her time for the Women’s Bean Project and the Red Cross. The MS Walk/Denver last year was held on Saturday May 8, in City Park. Janet raised $950 through her letters (because she dislikes asking people for money) and then got matching funds from Rose Medical Center, bringing the total to $1,900! To get involved in this year’s event, which is May 7 at City Park, contact the National MS Society at (303) 831-0700.
Photos of the MS Walk courtesy of Susan Fry of the National MS Society, Colorado Chapter.