It was just by chance that I became aware of Fly4MS through my social media network of travel bloggers via Maria Pulice (@MariaPulice), a photographer involved in the project. Fly4MS is an endeavor to promote global awareness of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) with a bold and creative 29,000m trans-Atlantic/trans-European trip that began on August 31st. Visit their blog to follow the Fly4MS team on their journey.
The sad coincidence is that my niece, Veronica, who had lived so graciously and cheerfully with MS for over 20 years was being transferred to Joliet Area Community Hospice in Illinois on August 31st. She passed away on September 3rd.
As I write about my travels and travel dreams, I’ve been thinking about how Roni who, despite her vivacious spirit and vibrant energy, had severely limited mobility for several years and was homebound for the last five.
I think about how much she loved traveling to Tennessee over the years with her husband, Frank and daughter, Heather to visit family and spend time in Gatlinburg. At her memorial service, there were posters and a DVD with photos of her throughout her life. One of them showed her, Frank and Heather on the Skylift chair ride in Gatlinburg. She has such a look of contentment on her face. I also think about trips she took out west to see family in Arizona and California.
On a visit here to California that she made in the late 1990’s we did some sightseeing in San Francisco and took a few scenic routes in the area. It was fun to show her around because she enjoyed the time so much. She always had a smile on her face and never complained even though the disease was present and she was taking daily treatments. In fact, as we were on a particularly winding road through the mountains, we didn’t realize that she was feeling a bit nauseous – she didn’t want to say anything. When we said that we would cut the tour short, she insisted with a smile and laugh that she was OK and we should keep going – she didn’t want the trip to end.
Throughout her life, Roni liked to be on-the-go and she brought a lot of happiness to not only her friends and family, but people she met along the way.
Whenever I come across a cause for MS and learn of people who are trying to raise awareness or support efforts to find advanced treatments and a cure, I’ll always think of Roni and in her memory, say “thanks” to those who care. Thanks, Fly4MS!
Touching article, I’m so sorry for your loss. I’ve been following Fly4MS and trying to raise as much awareness of the endeavor as I can via my blog and examiner.com columns. It’s a well known disease, yet, not well understood by the general public. There still needs to be a lot of research and study and people like the Fly4MS crew, who tackle awareness on a global level are truly needed and appreciated.
Andrew, thank you for your comments and support of MS awareness endeavors!
I am Roni’s friend and sister in law. I cannot remember a time when I needed her that she was not there for me. I wrote a special letter for Roni. That letter read.. I cannot thank you (Roni) enough for allowing me to love you and share in your short life. I cannot thank you enough for your patience and compassion you had with my brother (Frank). For giving me the most precious gift and her name is Heather. You have forever bonded all those who have ever met you. I love you and until we meet again walking in heaven.
Veronica was truly a bright light in all of our lives. She possessed a positive and constant smile that will always remain unsurpassed. I am proud to have been her Aunt. She made my father and Cathy’s so happy. When she could no longer speak, he would ask her “How are you doing honey?” and she inturn would give him a smile and the thumbs up. He was so proud of her and thrilled to call her his grandaughter. She gave his life meaning when he spent time with her. God bless her.
this is a beautiful tribute cathy. i’m so sorry for your loss. i’ll help spread the word about this good cause. warm thoughts to you and your family. 🙂
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This article touched my heart, thanks for sharing.