Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Get out your POM-POMS!

I use wheelchair or walker everywhere I go. So you may be surprised to learn that yesterday, for the second year in a row I crossed the finish line at the MS Bike Ride.

Okay. I didn’t do the bike ride. But I was there and had an extremely important job to do: Greet and cheer for all the riders as they rode past the finish line.

My job, all of our jobs really, was to thank and express gratitude to those who are making our world a better place. Very few people have a physical disability that prevents them from cheering and acknowledging those who are making a difference. Besides, it is a lot of fun……..and there is free food too!

Theodore Roosevelt put it best when he said “No man has the moral right to withhold his support from an organization that is striving to improve conditions within his sphere.” I couldn’t agree more.

When it comes to making the world a better place, we can be participants in events, give money (which is always good) or give visible moral support to those that can and do these activities. It is important. It makes a difference. It is our obligation.

I used to be a jogger. I frequently paid my $20 or $25 registration fee, got my souvenir t-shirt and participated in these 5K or 10K events. At that time, it didn’t matter to me what the money raised was for. It could have been for Cancer, Capricorns or comedians. I just wanted to do the event.

Today when I am there to greet the participants at the finish line, I am in my wheelchair. I am a sort of visible representation and reminder of why they are riding and who they are riding for. When I say thank you, they know that I mean it from the bottom of my heart.

We (my family and I) do our own fundraising for the National MS Society. We also make donations to other organizations throughout the year (Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, AIDS, etc.). When we can, we also give money to others raising money for the same causes.

We lend our visible support at the Finish Line. It is our way of saying thanks and job well done. What it also does for us is keep us involved. Being surrounded by all that energy and excitement gets our blood flowing and gets us out of our daily routine. It also gives us an opportunity to make a difference to those who are making a difference for us.

Get involved. Become a cheerleader. Swing a pom-pom. Say thank you. Get a friend to join you. Feel alive. Be at the finish line. You, and the participants, will be glad you did.

Participate. Make a difference. Live a life that matters.


  1. Cheering walkers, bikers & runners on reminds me that I am not alone fighting this disease and inspires me to keep fighting so that someday I WILL walk or bike again myself...I'll leave the running to you : )

  2. Michael, as usual this is a great article. I may not be there in person to cheer you on at the finish line, but I am there in spirit, love and cheering loud. Love Jean