Purpose Makes You Feel Good, Says Multiple Sclerosis Advocate
Claudia Curry Hill is a member on the board of Race to Erase MS, an organization dedicated to the treatment and ultimate cure of multiple sclerosis (MS). She generously gives her time and energy to do good for individuals with disabilities and for women’s health in general. She is especially supportive of MS-related causes, being that she herself has MS.
The core focus of Race to Erase MS is to fund MS research. All proceeds go to its Center Without Walls program, which is a selected network of the nation’s top MS research centers. With nationwide collaboration and innovative research programs, the research program aims to deliver therapeutic approaches to combat MS. “While there’s no cure for MS yet, we have broken so much new ground in a very short time and we will not stop until we cross the finish line and find a cure for MS,” explained Nancy Davis, founder of Race to Erase MS.
Every year, the organization holds a celebrity gala to raise funds in honor of its Center Without Walls program. In April of 2018, the 25th annual gala was held in Los Angeles and it raised over $1.6 million. To date, Race to Erase MS has raised a total of $47 million since its establishment. The day after the gala, an MS forum and expo is held. The presentation is set up by Curry Hill, who moderates an expert panel on the latest advancements in MS research and treatment.
Diagnosis – a perspective on MS
Curry Hill was diagnosed with primary-progressive MS in her early thirties, after experiencing an episode of optic neuritis. “Later, when my legs went numb, a friend suggested I see a neurologist” she said. An MRI confirmed the diagnosis.
It was only after receiving her diagnosis did Curry Hill realize she had already had MS symptoms. However, because she was so physically active, she brushed them off as being the result of an overworked body. Back then, there were no drugs or other MS treatments. Her doctor merely told her to go home and rest, adding that she would be in a wheelchair in the future. “I was crying hysterically for an hour before I drove home. I didn’t know anything about MS then” she said.
But for Curry Hill, rest was not an option. Now, many years later, she still does not need to use a wheelchair. She does, however, use a type of orthosis called a functional electrical stimulation device. This device stimulates her leg muscles and enables her to walk. “I could hike and ski until 12 years ago. I’m happy to still be upright, even though my balance isn’t great,” she said.
Read on to learn more about her journey and how purpose can
Photo: Everyday Health