All About Multiple Sclerosis

More MS news articles for April 2003

Friends help her rise to challenge of disability

'I can't control that I got MS ... I can control how I deal with it'

Sat, Mar. 29, 2003
The Charlotte Observer

Summers spent on her aunt's farm in New Jersey are among Kathy Schmidt's favorite memories. Her big Italian Irish Catholic family met there every Sunday to laugh by a pool her aunts and uncles pitched in to build.

Now living in Weddington, Schmidt still turns to her family and friends to keep her spirits up as she deals with Progressive Degenerative MS (multiple sclerosis).

Schmidt and eight friends -- they call themselves the Happy Feet team -- will be among hundreds of participants at the MS Challenge Walk today at Freedom Park.

One of the largest MS fund-raiser walks in the country, it begins at 9 a.m. with two-mile and five-mile walks through the park's neighborhood. The two-mile walk is handicapped accessible.

Buzzing along the two-mile route will be Schmidt on a shiny red three-wheeler she calls her "Hooter Scooter." In the 2002 walk, she rode a red bicycle, but she's unable to pedal it this year.

MS has changed a lot in Schmidt's life, but it hasn't touched her sense of fun.

"You might not be able to choose your destiny," says Schmidt, "but you can choose how to experience the journey. Are you going to let life go on around you, or are you going to actively participate?"

Schmidt worked in management with J.C. Penney in New York and Dallas before moving to the Charlotte area in 1996 to work for Springs Industries. After being diagnosed with MS in February 2000, Schmidt had to work through anger and bitterness to get to where she is now.

"I can't control that I got MS," she says, "but I can control how I deal with it."

Now Schmidt has started the Trinity Wish Foundation to help those with disabilities learn to "dream again," and offer support to their family and friends.

Copyright © 2003, The Charlotte Observer