You don’t know how strong you are until your strength is tested. My friend’s strength is being tested. Her mom is fighting MSA and my friend, Candice, has completely altered her life to be her mother’s caregiver, a fearless caregiver that is. A cancer survivor herself, Candice has fought her own battle before – underwent surgery, did radiation and is on medication. Unfortunately with MSA, there is no cure or drugs to treat it. It’s like receiving “the death sentence” as Candice describes it. Here’s a quote from Candice about MSA:
“Multiple System Atrophy is a devastating neurodegenerative disease that progresses very quickly. For those diagnosed, it is a death sentence. There are no drugs that stop it’s relentless progression. Over the course of 5 to 10 years, victims are robbed of their ability to walk, talk, chew, swallow and breathe. People diagnosed with cancer are offered tools with which to fight … surgery, radiation, chemotherapy. People diagnosed with Multiple System Atrophy simply have no such tools to fight with. This disease could strike you or your loved one anytime between age 30 and 60.”
It is often times wrongly diagnosed as Parkinson’s disease. And when I’ve mentioned MSA to others, they assume MS. I for sure had no clue what it was and have not seen Mrs. Valenta since she has been diagnosed. She has completely lost her independence. I’ve always known Mrs. Valenta as a healthy, active person. Candice is a personal trainer and before her mom was diagnosed, her mom was actually one of her clients. Mrs. Valenta was at a point in her life doing things on her own, enjoying the empty nest. Today, she has a 5 month old grandson that she hasn’t had the opportunity to hold. It’s a devastating situation.
This month is the official MSA awareness month and I want to help her raise awareness. She went in front of the Commissioner’s Court to advocate that Bexar County recognize March as the official awareness month for MSA.
Here’s the video of her speaking in front of Nelson Wolff himself (her speech starts around 2:30).
I could not be more proud of my friend. She has hit every hurdle possible in her young life and she keeps finding a way to overcome them.