Climb to the Top with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society

On February 27, 2011 I got up out of the most comfortable down bed I have slept in over at W Downtown in NYC in wee hours of the morning.  What time exactly? Well Sandra, Ms. Belleza Latina International 2011 and I were supposed to get up around 3 am but somehow we managed to ignore both of our cell phone alarms ringing, had last minute negotiations with each other on what exactly our call time was and finally leaped up at 4:30am in full panic mode.  With a flurry of clothes flying, flat irons pressing and applying eyelashes in 1 minute flat, we made it to the event in record time.  We meet Sasha the volunteer manager of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Southern New York Chapter, who leads us to our first volunteer station – the food (yes we are jumping up and down with joy).  One Starbucks later and I believe we are feeling human again.  The next hour or so we get to know two of the sweetest ladies at this volunteer station, and of course the fact that there were two cute Muscle Milk guys directly across from me did not hurt at all! I never did get to give them my phone number (darn).
I am simply amazed at the amount of people at the event who were up this early (over 1,000), and how well organized it was.  Among the first teams to go up the 66 flights of stairs at the Top of the Rock was NYFD who climbed with all of their equipment on!  Our next station was on the 43rd floor, which was the second (and last) rest stop where we joined a wonderful group of volunteers to cheer the climbers on and rehydrate them before they reached the top.  This was the best part, seeing the actual people climbing.  Some too tired to wave and gave us a grunt as they passed by, entire families climbing (including children), climbers affected with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and also those climbing for someone they knew affected by this disease which they honored by writing their names on their t-shirt tags.
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease in which the myelin sheath covering your nerves has been compromised, interfering with the signals that your brain sends out to the rest of your body.  It is difficult to diagnose and there is no cure.  For more information on MS, including finding your local chapter, support groups or to make a donation visit:

Our friends who we volunteered with at the food station.
With Sasha Wells, Southern NYC Chapter volunteer manager
Line up people!
Whew! I did it in high heels also LOL
Team Jimmy


  • Neil

    There is no-one that can tell you how your MS will behave in the fuutre, but a rule of thumb is that the first 5 years after your first attack will be an indicator of how the MS will affect you. Nothing is written in stone, though, aggressive MS can suddenly turn dormant and mild MS can suddenly become aggressive.The way I see it, we, who are diagnosed with remitting-relapsing MS, live with a sword over our head. We don’t know IF it’s going to fall and if it falls, we don’t know how severe the damage will be, but then again, there are no guarantees in life, and there is no point worrying about the what ifs .My advice to you is to read up as much as you can about MS. It helped me immensely after I was first diagnosed, because the average person’s knowledge about MS is usually based on worst case scenarios. These are what the media focus on, these are the most visible when you walk down the street.For your own sake, I feel it is important to come to terms with the worst case scenario, but it is equally important to realise that many of the MS statistics include old data that were harvested before the disease modifying drugs were developed. Today MS is not considered to have any effect on the sufferer’s lifespan, and many of people with MS lead normal or near normal lives, just 15% of all MS sufferers end up in wheel-chairs.Talk to your neurologist, don’t be afraid to ask questions, advice, anything at all. Many problems can be addressed with medicine, and if you have relapsing-remitting MS, the earlier you start treatment, the better. I started on Avonex right after I got my diagnosis and both the neurologist I’ve had, have independently of each other said that the early treatment is most likely the main reason why I’m doing this well.MS is not a death-sentence and it does not necessarily mean that your life will change significantly either. The most important part is to focus on what you can do. All depending on your symptoms, you might still be able to teach for many years to come.Take your time, try to relax and digest the diagnosis, do what feels right for you and try not to be too affected by well-meaning friends and family, if yours are anything like mine, they will be crying, treating you as if you have one foot in the grave, finding various articles on alternative treatments, and telling you about all the other MS cases they’ve heard of. Natural reactions, but not always helpful to the newly diagnosed.You might want to look into joining a MS group. I didn’t do so myself when I was first diagnosed, but I know it has helped many.All the best to you. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or just need to talk. Was this answer helpful?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *