Thursday, October 21, 2010

More Than Just Pretty Faces

2009 Fashion Plates Fashion Show
Next month, I'll be walking the runway for the MS Society's Fashion Plates fundraiser for the third consecutive year. In the past, I've gone for the clothes selection with the personal shopper and then showed up the day of the fashion show to have my hair and makeup done by a team of professionals. Not too shabby for a suburban mom who shops at T.J. Maxx and gets her makeup at the drug store.

This year, I decided to help with the event planning, too, and I volunteered to interview my fellow models for the program bios. What a treat!

Each woman I've interviewed has a different diagnosis story and their disease symptoms and treatments vary considerably. I've heard it said more than once that if you put 100 people with MS in a room, they would have 100 different tales to tell. That's certainly been the case for the four women I've talked to so far.

Some had symptoms for years before they were diagnosed and some have similar stories to mine where they went through a whirlwind of specialists and tests that ended with an MS diagnosis just days after presenting with a single issue. I know we get what we get and no one's able to choose how or when they are diagnosed, but I'm incredibly grateful that I'm in the latter group. If I had been visiting doctors for years wondering if I was imagining a list of unrelated symptoms, I might have ended up in a padded room. Or maybe that's just further evidence of my questionable mental state. That's OK. I'm the fun kind of crazy.

But I digress.

For all the differences, I found common themes in these women's stories, too. Maybe it's the kind of person attracted to this event. I guess you have to feel pretty good about yourself--and life, in general--to strut down a runway. Or at least not give a crap about what other people think.

Every woman I interviewed was incredibly positive. When I asked how MS had changed their lives, they each talked about the unexpected gifts they found inside the ugly wrapping paper of MS. I heard about how their priorities shifted after diagnosis and how they now appreciate what they have so much more. Although MS is not a fatal illness (don't get me started on that misconception!), it's made each of these women realize in a new way that the future is uncertain and how important it is to focus on the present.

Without exception, and regardless of their level of disability, everyone wanted me to know that they were not defined by their MS. Like me, they are multi-dimensional people who live fully now and are more active and involved in life than many people who don't have a chronic illness.

I am proud to be in their company. I hope people living in the Boston area (or people who want to visit the Boston area) will consider attending this inspiring event on Friday, November 19.


  1. What a great event. And living in the present is the best philosophy for anyone battling a chronic illness.

  2. Sounds like a lot of fun. Maybe I will get involved next year!

    P.S. I love the spoon story you have posted. I've never seen it before but can really relate to it. I am going to borrow it to post on my blog. Hope you don't mind. I'll give you credit for finding it! :)

  3. Thanks for visiting, Karen and Jodi. When I I MAKE more time to update my blog, would you like me to add your blog URLs to my scroll?
    Lazy Julie

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  5. Hope you post some pix after the show...
    Wish I could dig out a few from a similar event I participated in for ACS many moons ago! (Me, a MODEL??!!??)