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rising from the wheelchair When Sharon Greene was diagnosed with MS some 30 years ago, there wasn’t much she could do. There weren’t any therapies and not much was known about the disease. “The only person I knew who had MS was 31 and blind and was paralyzed so I was devastated when I was told ‘you have MS,’” Sharon said. “I went to the library and read up on it and back in those days it said you could die from it. There were no treatments at that time, it was just go home and live with it.” So that’s what Sharon did. She stopped working full time as an elementary counselor and tried to take care of herself. When she turned 65 she wanted to do something more and decided to volunteer. During her volunteer work at the West County MS Center she learned about exercises for empowering people with MS and about the Chapter’s wellness programs. She learned how a volunteer at the Chapter, Toni Kodner, used to be in a wheelchair but was doing great after yoga and therapy. “I thought maybe it was for me,” Sharon said. Through some nudging by Toni, Sharon tried an adaptive yoga class where the instructors adjusted exercises to what she could do. “The instructors know how you function and know how you modify a pose which is really

MS connection: Summer 2012

valuable,” Sharon said. “They made me feel part of the group and they were going to do anything they could to help me get through it. I kept going. I remember the first day the hour and a half was really long but on the way home I felt like a million bucks.” Encouraged by that, Sharon attended an MS Wellness Fair and talked to some therapists about what else she could do. “They said they thought I could walk again,” Sharon said.

“it’s truly amazing. i seem to get better as i get older.” That, along with the motivation of trying to keep up and play with her first grandson, encouraged Sharon to take her MS into her own hands and continue to do yoga and physical therapy. The Chapter helped with transportation costs and Sharon started a Walk MS team with the goal of walking the event in Clayton. In April, Sharon, with her team’s support, completed the one-mile walk in Clayton. “To hear the crowd cheering and the band, the cowbells, I never dreamed it could be such a phenomenal thing,” Sharon said. “It was amazing to get all the hugs. When you’re in a wheelchair people are kind of stand-offish and don’t reach down to hug you; there is kind of a barrier around you. So it’s pretty cool standing up. It was truly amazing.” Sharon does have one regret – that she didn’t

MS Connection - Summer Edition 2012