Those who have the disease should be volunteers, she urges.
August 13, 2002 Tuesday
By Marisa Maldonado Of The Morning Call
The Morning Call (Allentown)
SECTION: COMMUNITY REPORT, Pg. B5
Jackie Waldman knows how to turn pain into positive action.
After struggling to accept a 1991 diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, the Dallas, Texas, resident eventually found a way to use her experiences to help others by writing the book, "The Courage to Give."
"A bad moment for me, and maybe for you, was the day I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis," she told 137 people at a multiple sclerosis seminar at the Holiday Inn Conference Center in Fogelsville Saturday. "A better day was when Oprah [Winfrey's producer] called." Waldman, who has published four books, told the audience that she cried after getting the chance to promote her book on Winfrey's show because it gave her the chance to share her message -- that people should try to help others despite their personal tragedies -- with millions of people.
She encouraged the seminar attendees, most of whom have multiple sclerosis, to give back to their communities by volunteering their talents.
"The heart knows quality, not quantity," Waldman said.
Shannon Seitzinger of Williamsport, who has multiple sclerosis, said Waldman inspired her to pursue plans to volunteer at a community center with children.
"[Waldman] kept focusing on how MS is just a small part of us," Seitzinger said. "It's not everything."
For some, Waldman's call to volunteer is beyond their capability. Gloria Drumheller of Whitehall said she probably would not volunteer because she can't "walk so well."
Even though Waldman has found happiness in life, she said she is prone to bad moments.
She talked about a rainy night several weeks ago when she and her husband, Steve, locked themselves out of the house. They were planning to drive to a party and found themselves in the garage without their keys and unable to get back into the home.
After reprimanding her husband for not bringing the keys and reminding him that a cold caught walking in the rain could worsen her condition, Waldman said she had a change of heart.
She found two drinks in an old refrigerator and gave him one.
"He started to smile from ear to ear and he started to breathe," she said. "In that moment, I saw more than being stuck in a garage. I saw him trying to make this disease go away.
"No one can fix this disease for us. We have to fix it for ourselves."
Waldman said they were able to solve the problem by having Chinese food delivered to the garage and, several hours later, calling their daughter who had a spare key to the house.
"I gave him a Coke, I got Chinese food," she said. "That's how it works
-- you give a little, you get back 10 times over every time."
© Copyright 2002 The Morning Call, Inc.