All About Multiple Sclerosis

More MS news articles for July 2003

State group honors 'tireless advocate'

June Malin receives MS Community Service Award

Thu, Jul 10, 2003
By Trish Linner
Truth Regional Reporter
South Bend

June Malin has lived with multiple sclerosis for most of her adult life. While it may have slowed her down at times, it certainly hasn't stopped her.

"I always tell those who call me for help to remember that you may have MS, but it doesn't have you," she said.

Her fierce determination and years of volunteer work were recognized Wednesday morning when she received a Community Service Award from the Indiana state chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

"It is an honor to present this award to such a tireless advocate, who so richly deserves the recognition," said South Bend Mayor Steve Luecke as he presented the award and proclaimed the day Multiple Sclerosis Recognition Day.

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, often disabling, disease that randomly attacks the central nervous system. Symptoms may be mild or quite severe. An estimated 7,800 Hoosiers have been diagnosed with the disease, more than a third of a million people nationwide.

Malin knows the statistics all too well. In the prime of her life, with two small children to care for, she was diagnosed with the disease. "I was hoping for more children," she said, "but it wasn't meant to be."

She and her husband, Albert, moved their family from Michigan to Granger in 1984. Just as she had been in Michigan, Malin became involved in a support group in South Bend. "I began a newsletter for the members, myself the facilitator of the group," she said.

As facilitator, her name was often given to newly diagnosed patients as a contact. That's how Debbie Roberts of Niles found her. "I had been traveling an hour north into Michigan to meet with a group, and I knew there had to be one closer," she said. "Elkhart General Hospital gave me June's name and number. She steered me toward this local MS support grouip. I can't thank her enough."

Praise for Malin also came from members of the MS state chapter, who were on hand for the presentation. "When I joined this organization in March of 2002, I learned how hard June had worked to help other MS patients, and to enlarge the local MS Walk," said Dawn Czarnik, community development manager. "This year we had 640 participants, and raised over $54,000. She is truly an inspiration."

Malin has been an inspiration to her family as well. "She just keeps going," said her daughter, Anne Feirick. "It's nice to see her recognized for her work."

Malin, in return, credits her family for their support. Her grandchildren are the light of her life, and she tries to spend as much time with them as she can. "Of course it is nice to love them and then send them home," she said with a laugh.

Malin intends to spend a little more time with them in the near future.

She has stepped down as the support group facilitator, turning it over to Marty Reese. "I have some pretty big shoes to fill," said Reese. "I thank God I can call June when I need help."

Malin is an avid bridge player who gets in a weekly game and is an Avon representative. She concedes the disease may worsen as she ages, but doesn't dwell on the things she can't do.

"You can't wallow in the disease," she said, "Having a positive attitude keeps you going."

Copyright © 2003, Truth Publishing Inc.