Jean Walsh Haverhill, MA 6,321 Votes
I have a rare degenerative neuromuscular disease, Friedreich’s ataxia (FA). There is no cure or treatment. Regardless of a cure or no cure, I have a life to live and I will be happy! My pursuit of happiness leads me to help myself and others by:
Volunteering – This year will be my second in creating and providing a community building day for people with FA. I also volunteer for the organization seeking a cure for FA, FARA. I write grants, host a fundraiser and do my best to support and advocate for them.
Educating & Advocating– As a volunteer for FARA, I speak at fundraising events and try to educate anyone I meet about the disease. However, my goal is to use my experience of having a chronic disease and disability to help others be emotionally healthy. It is why I begin a Masters in Social Work program in May. I am becoming better educated so I can better educate and advocate
Achieving – I WILL get my MSW. I WILL use my education to improve the lives of others with chronic disease and/or disability.
Persevering – I was diagnosed with FA 30 years ago. From walking to walker to wheelchair, I have endured many losses. I have not just lost mobility, that is one concrete example. Yet I try every day to pursue my goals, enjoy my life and the amazing people in it and have fun.
Need for a van… I drive a 2002 car with hand controls and a BraunAbility Chair Topper. While the Chair Topper is fairly new and very functional, the car isn’t. It is beginning to rust. Even scarier to me, it can sputter and behave erratically. I dread having it breakdown as I drive it and am alone. The other day the check engine light came on AGAIN. I want to feel safe when I drive alone, but more importantly, I want to be able to put all my loved ones in the car and feel safe. Right now I am very focused on my Masters program. I believe it is the best way for me to help others and build my own happiness. I do need a new car, but my husband and I can’t afford to do both a car and my Masters program. Help me feel safe as I pursue my goals of helping myself and others. Vote for me!