by James Lozada
Most of us have no idea what it's like to be in a wheelchair, where even the simplest things become difficult. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is hoping to raise awareness about how hard it can be, with Wednesday's MS Roll-On. It's a project that enables healthy people to experience some of the difficulties those with disabilities have.
"We will be able to identify with people that we see and we'll be more cognizant of doors and entry-ways and accessibility to all things," said participant Gene Parker. One of the first things those taking part in the Roll-On realized is how difficult it is to get around. Buildings just aren't made for wheelchairs, even with accommodations installed to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. "This building is not access friendly to a challenged individual. I had to maneuver around a couple of doors that were difficult and getting in my office is quite narrow," said Roll-On participant Sgt. John Coffee of the Amarillo Police Department.
The MS Roll-On is designed to raise awareness about Multiple Sclerosis and accessibility issues like going through doors. It may look easy on a normal basis, but it becomes much more difficult when you're in a wheelchair. "It required me three times the amount of time to enter a building and to be able to locate from one place to another and just the routine things we take for granted," said participant Jim Haile.
Nancy Dziedzic has Multiple Sclerosis and says she's honored that people care enough to help raise awareness about the problems MS patients have. "I have hope for a cure and until then, I need help with the community and this is a very good example of how the community can help us," Nancy said.
It was an eye-opening experience for participants that will help bring to light real issues that affect real people.