Friday November 18 2016 09:35 AM
On the third anniversary of the MS & Me Blog, we’d like to say ‘thank you’ for what you have given back to us.
The Irish love to talk. Down here in Kerry, in fact, I sometimes think to myself, ‘why would a Kerryman use one word when three will suffice?’
But when we put the call out to the people in this country who live with multiple sclerosis, asking for people to write about their most intimate experiences with this disease… the community were initially a little shy to get involved!
Willeke, Helen, Declan, Joan, Aoife, Niamh, Emma, and Lucina have set about telling their very personal stories, sharing their hopes and fears, and giving of themselves via this blog (and in several other ways) for three years this month. Three years in which they have given of themselves to the point that they were jointly awarded the “Volunteer of the Year” award for MS Ireland for 2016.
There is no doubt that this group of dedicated bloggers has given more than their fair share. But what you might not know is what we get back in return from ye.
I asked the team what they get back from writing this blog, as a blogger myself, I wasn’t surprised by their answers but you might be!
First, know that most of us were not writers before we started blogging for MS & Me. Many admitted that they would never have even thought of let alone considered writing their most inner thoughts for the world to see had MS Ireland not given them the opportunity.
We have braided strong bonds with one another in this past three years and we have made connections with people living with MS and their families all across the country. We find members of the MS community coming up to us at public events to thank us for our blogs. We sound ideas off one another and we hear back from you which directs our topic choices.
We await your comments on our writings and you never fail to come back to us with thoughtful insights or well thought-out counterpoints. You see, you are as much a part of the MS & Me blog as those who write it.
The hope of all was that just one person might have been reached by our words. By the matrix available to us on the web, we know that hundreds and even thousands of you read our blogs. We have reached out to you and you have reached back through the darkness and we have found each other.
Two of us, Willeke and myself, aren’t even from your fair country – we have adopted living in Ireland – but you have welcomed our musings and perhaps even incorporated a little of our ‘foreign’ thinking into your life with MS.
I spoke at an event last autumn for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in the United States. The theme of that meeting was “Stronger Together”. I can assure you that all of us at the MS & Me blog feel stronger together as a team and we have been bolstered even more by your response to our efforts.
You see, we have shared a piece of ourselves and you have answered back. As bloggers we drew together our voices into a chorus and you met us with orchestration. When we have stumbled in the dark, you have been there to pick us back up. Together we have made the way easier for one another and we have blazed the trail for those to come behind.
You, yes YOU have taken the MS & Me blogs we have offered and turned them into a breathing part of our collective life with multiple sclerosis. For that, we must take advantage of this third anniversary to say “go raibh maith agat”. You have given us more than you’ll ever know.
Wishing you and your family the best of health.