Good Morning! While I realize that it may not be morning when you read this, it feels like morning to me. After my twelve hour dip at Kits Beach I went into a comfy slumber, free from the pool and free from strict schedules.
My body recovered from the 36km much quicker than I had anticipated. It was my mind that needed a little extra time. While I don't like to admit it, I have a hard time bouncing back from long commitments like SwimMS. I don't at all mean that I don't enjoy the commitment, or that I can only focus for a short period of time... what I mean is that I do like to take advantage of down time when it is earned.
The last year of my life was focused mostly on my swim. At times I felt as though it was hard to think or talk about anything else, especially when summer arrived. I was extremely lucky to be able to travel to Disney Land with my boyfriend and step-son, but this included early morning swims at the hotel pool and spending one of our park days napping and pampering some sun stroke. By July I was swimming six days a week. Following August 16th I swam twice in September, solely to take advantage of the sun. This weekend I finally jumped back in and now the slumber is over.
On Friday, UBC held it's annual Alumni meet. AT this event the current swim team and us old folks dual in the pool. At this particular event, our tired old bodies get the advantage of false starts, tagging out when we get tired, and referees who turn a blind eye. It sounds bad but it's tradition! It's also the only way to guarantee we keep coming back. I swam a mixture 50's and finished the night off with shared memories over a pint. This day is always one I look forward to. Alumni from various years come out and meet the current team. It's a great opportunity to catch up, but also to pass on wisdom and experiences to the young swimmers hoping to continue our important traditions and our legacy. Every year I cherish this event and the memories it allows me to revisit.
In addition to getting back in the pool, I have been working as a part time fundraising assistant with the MS Society. This position is volunteer and happens one day a week. I love Wednesdays! The wonderful thing about the volunteer program at the MS Society is that they truly incorporate you as part of the team. I am involved in fundraising meetings, out of office events, and get to help organize some of the important events the society hosts to raise funds and awareness. At the start of SwimMS I acted due to my relationship with my cousin. Growing up she really helped shape me. She is goofy, likes to sing, and always has a smile on her face...I like to think that she rubbed off on me (although my mom is similar as well). I have always looked up to my cousin, and still do. My intention in all of this was to help fund research for a cure. Currently my cousin had relapsing remitting MS, as form which is less debilitating than other progressive forms. This form can become progressive. Those living with progressive MS often have to leave work. Many become wheelchair bound and have issues with their dexterity and vision. I wanted to stop my cousin from potentially experiencing any of this. I still want to prevent that. Since starting my journey with the MS Society I have met so many others with MS. I also have some close friends, from before creating SwimMS, who live with the disease. I see the affects of Multiple Sclerosis differ so greatly from person to person. This makes treatment and diagnosis so challenging. While the disease is overwhelming and it's effects on my community make me angry, I also hold a large amount of optimism for the future.
On October 9th, the research and treatment facility at UBC invited me out for a tour. I was able to meet with the talented individuals who use our funds to find a cure. I had a chance to see the treatment rooms and learn a little bit more about the process. This meeting was really important for me. I felt like I saw where the $15,400 from the summer would be going. I saw the rooms where some would experience tests and receive scary, earth shattering news. I walked through the bright treatment rooms where MS patients sit and dream of a future without MS, where hope grows.
The future of SwimMS will be filled with hope, and while I continue to work with my cousin in mind, I also recognize that SwimMS exists on behalf of all those living with MS. To those who have left a positive footprint in my life, those who are scared, and those with hope. Even if I do not know you, SwimMS is for you.