EGGERTSVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) – More than 13 thousand people in the Upstate New York area suffer from multiple sclerosis. As the holiday season kicks off, volunteers are giving the “gift of service” to Western New Yorkers suffering with the disease.
“He’s a saint,” that’s how Deborah Heim describes her husband Gerald. She’s been living with multiple sclerosis since 2010. Despite suffering from fatigue and pain–she worries about being a burden on family and friends.
“We all feel guilty with what we can’t do, and how much we have to ask of our spouses. At least for me, I kind of go into hide out mode.”
She says it’s difficult to make plans, she won’t know how she’ll feel on any given day. “When I wake up in the morning, I take all of my medication and then lay there for an hour and wait for them to work,” she said.
So in honor of MS Service Day, Heim is one of 14 Western New York patients who is getting a little extra help.
Volunteer, Sarah miller said, “across the nation, The M.S. Society is recruiting volunteers to come in and help people get that stuff done. So it’s a nice day.”
From washing windows and walls, to painting doors and book cases, the goal is to help Deborah and her husband check things off their “to-do” list.
Volunteer Alyssa Porter said, “It’s an attack on the central nervous system, so as it progresses it’s harder for patients to do their every day normal activities.”
This also gives the 7 volunteers a chance to connect and build relationships with people with M.S. in our community.
Porter said, “That was what today was about, to come and help somebody do things that they cant do anymore due to their illness.”
For Deborah, it’s these little things that make all the difference for her and Gerald. She said, “It’s a catch up for him, it’s going to be an enormous weight off his shoulders.”