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Tina Johnson posing after MS Walk
Pictured (from left) are Pamela Ashe,
Tina Johnson and Patricia Anne-Johnson

Perspectives

Giving Back

An Overwhelming Desire to Give Back

Tina Johnson

Class of 2007, Art History⁄Black History Major

My Journey with Multiple Sclerosis

MS doesn’t define me, it’s just part of me. This statement reminds me about the anger I felt after being diagnosed because I hate the idea of something limiting me. I have a tendency to fight against those limits and to say, “Never will you beat me because I plan to fight tooth and nail to regain control of my life despite my illness.”

MS isn’t a death sentence because life goes on. After my diagnosis two years ago, I really didn’t know what that diagnosis meant for the rest of my life. I could not resume my normal routine because I couldn’t do the things I did before. I was not prepared to get out in the community nor did I have the confidence in my physical abilities to be outside the safety and security of my home. I spent the next six to seven months in physical therapy just to learn to walk and feel comfortable with using my legs. I was determined to walk and no one was going to tell me that there was a possibility I might not walk again.

Tina Johnson participating in the MS Walk
Tina Johnson participating
in the MS Walk

Why I Participate in the MS Walk

Now I give back. I am a volunteer at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, where I was a patient for a month. I have an overwhelming desire to give back the hope, desire, will and determination to improve that was given to me. There is no greater joy than to see a patient work hard during her or his rehab and see improvement. I'd like to think that I've helped by being there to give encouragement and support.

I have the courage to give and that takes my mind off of what I am going through with my illness. Giving to others has become therapeutic for my mind, body, spirit and sense of well-being. I hope my story has given you a better understanding as to why I give of myself and the significance of the MS Walk.

MS Walk Logo Tina Johnson is a senior double-majoring in art history and black studies. Her Partners for Success mentor is Omar Valerio-Jiménez, assistant professor of history. She participated in the 2006 MS Walk in Los Angeles on April 9.
Visit Tina's MS Walk Web site: http://www.nationalmssociety.org