This is a guest post written by Valerie L, a Home T customer.
When I introduce myself to people, I will tell them that I am a middle school teacher and have been for the past 7 years. I usually receive a “poor you” look on their face, as they remember what middle school was like. I get an even worse look when I tell them I teach Math; my favorite subject, of course. I will usually make small talk, which inevitably leads to the question, “Where are you from?” This has always been a tricky question to answer, as I have moved around a lot.
I was born in New Mexico and lived there until the summer after 3rd grade. We then moved to Arizona and lived there until the summer after 7th grade and then moved to Montana. After I graduated high school, I returned to New Mexico for a year of college, and then to Arizona, where I currently live. So where am I from? There are three possible choices, although, the only state I will ever claim as home is Montana.
Why is all this important you ask? Over the summer of 2013, I stumbled upon a photo from a friend who had a t-shirt with the state of Nebraska on it, with “home.” written on it. I clicked the link she shared and it took me to The Home T webpage. I thought, “Wow I have to get one of these!” While browsing the page, I also noticed that they gave a part of their profits to multiple sclerosis research. Now, it was no question I would have to buy a Montana Home T.
The fact that The Home T, gives a portion of their profits to multiple sclerosis research really hit home for me. During the summer of 2012, I was diagnosed with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis. Relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis is the most common type in which a person experiences attacks of worsening neurological functioning followed by periods of remission in which partial or complete recovery occurs. I believe that my first attack was in 2007, although I was not clinically diagnosed until 2012. During the summer of 2012 I had my worst attack to date; this exacerbation lasted from May until July. Throughout these months I had immense pain in my feet and legs, lost the capability to use my right hand and had double vision. I have since had one relapse, although not nearly as intense.
Again, how does all of this tie together? At the beginning of the school year, my entire school had a training in which we had to bring one object that was important to us. After having all summer to mull over an object that was important to me, I finally found that object…my Montana Home T. I was pretty nervous when we had to share because I thought it was insignificant to others objects, since it’s just a t-shirt. When it was my turn, I shared what I have told you in these few paragraphs. During a break in our training, some of my coworkers wanted to know where they could get their own Home T, as most of us come from elsewhere in the country. It really meant a lot that they wanted to not only show their pride in their home state, but to also support me in my battle with MS.
It is simply amazing how, not only my coworkers, but complete strangers are willing to give to find a cure for this disease. I think it is wonderful that so many people are working together with the various organizations and events, such as WalkMS, BikeMS and SwimMS. Lastly, I thank you, “The Home T,” for your efforts in helping with the cause.
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In 2011, Beth Donaldson, mother of two and wife of a police SWAT officer, was busy with work and the day-to-day life of raising two children. But when she was diagnosed with MS at 40, she dedicated herself to making a difference. Now she and her husband Mike run Living MS and are launching a charity bike ride to benefit MS awareness and research.