MS Awareness: A Talk With Alison

by Hannah Berner

The Home T is committed to raising money for multiple sclerosis (MS) research at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, but we also want to help raise awareness about the disease and how it impacts people.

This interview is part of an ongoing series where we talk to members of The Home T community that are impacted by multiple sclerosis. Today, we’re going to hear from Alison.

home t family MS

Alison got our attention when she posted a photo on Facebook with 20 family members wearing The Home T! We chatted with Alison to learn more about her relationship with multiple sclerosis, her family, and her favorite ice cream.

What state do you call home?

Born and raised in Northern California, I’ve lived my entire life within a 6 mile radius. I love to travel though, and my favorite city is Puerto Vallarta.

When did you learn you had multiple sclerosis, and do you have relapsing remitting or progressive?

I was diagnosed with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis in May of 2013. 8 days later I was on a previously scheduled flight to Ireland to meet my husband, who was finishing up a business trip. He was worried about me traveling that far by myself in a possibly emotional state, but I was fine. It ended up being really great timing, as we were able to discuss everything openly, without worrying about scaring our kids with unknowns.

How did you get involved with Walk MS?

I’m not sure how I first learned of Walk MS, probably just from emails from the National MS Society. We’ve had a team the last two years and it is so much fun. Friends and family from all over join in to offer support.

What has multiple sclerosis helped you learn about yourself?

MS has helped me learn to listen to my body and to say no. I’ve always needed a lot of sleep, but now I feel justified telling people I am usually in bed by 7:30! I also tend to take on too much, like at the kids school. My diagnosis has helped me cut back and not feel too guilty.

What’s one thing those that don’t have multiple sclerosis should know about it?

I’d love for folks who don’t have MS to know that it sometimes is invisible. Just because someone looks healthy and smiles doesn’t mean everything is fine!

How have you been able to give back to MS research at your day job Thirty One Gifts?

I just started with Thirty-One a year ago this month, and so far I’ve done a fundraiser with all proceeds going to the NMSS. I have a couple bags embroidered with MS related things, like an orange ribbon, and one that says “MS warrior,” and it helps to open up conversations to those unfamiliar with multiple sclerosis.

How long have you been doing family camping trips? Tell us about that picture with the Home T shirts!

My dad is one of eight siblings, and they’ve been camping at the beach since before he was born. It’s one of two times each year when we all get together: the eight siblings and spouses, the 22 grandchildren and spouses, and an ever growing number of great-grandchildren, 14 at last count. Even my grandma, who just turned 92, still comes! Last year they all surprised me by wearing Home T’s to dinner one night. SO emotional!!  I am so blessed by their support!

Do you have any advice for those living with multiple sclerosis?

My advice to those living with MS is to stay positive. We all have bad days, but the good outweighs the bad infinitely. My Catholic faith is a huge part of who I am, and it is a constant source of strength for me.

What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?

The best ice cream ever is a Black and Tan sundae from Leatherby’s Family Creamery!

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