Saturday, June 28, 2008

Happy Birthday, Sylvia

Sylvia Lawry was born this day in 1915. She was a regular person who took a step -- one person who made a difference worldwide.

Her brother was diagnosed with MS and she did not know how to help him or what to say or what was going to happen or even what MS was. In 1945, after her brother had spent fruitless time and effort trying to find a cure for his disease, MS, she placed an ad in the
NY Times looking for help from someone who had been cured. Just one regular person placing a classified ad - a simple action looking for an answer. She received many replies, but they were from MSers who were looking for the same answer. They hoped she had found the cure and would share the news.

She saw a need. The next 50 years of her life were dedicated to ridding the world of the disease that had attacked her brother and so many others. One ordinary person responding to a need that had touched her, transformed into quite an extraordinary person. Sylvia Lawry did it by founding the
National MS Society (NMSS), the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), and the MS International Federation (MSIF). In 2001, the year Sylvia died, the MSIFcreated the Sylvia Lawry Centre for Multiple Sclerosis Research. Because her brother had MS, she created a network for research and to provide information and support for MSers.

She helped her brother and she continues to help the rest of the 2.5 million MSers around the world.
One person, touched by her brother's plight, influenced research, disease management, and public policy in her country and the world. Wow. One of these days, when another woman like Sylvia places an ad for a cure, she will receive many responses -- with a cure developed because one person wanted to help and she made a significant difference.

She helped her brother and served as a model for all of us. One person's small act can make a significant difference. Happy Birthday, Sylvia.

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