Chicago, November 12th, 2010
The U.S. National MS Society (NMSS) is a huge, very active organization, with 800,000 members and over 1 million active volunteers. Therefore, being invited to speak at the annual conference of the US National MS Society is both a very big honor and a sign of recognition for the impact our mission has been able to make in support of those living with MS. We have been thrilled about this opportunity ever since we received the invitation a few weeks ago!
Just a week before the conference, we found out that my talk was the feature of the closing session of the conference. That’s when we realized that not only we were able to bring a meaningful contribution to the MS cause, but we managed to do something that was inspiring for others. I was a fantastic feeling!
The conference was a big event, with over 500 attendees, and everything was timed just right. So, I was told there was no room on the stage for anybody else but me. I wanted to use this event as an opportunity to introduce the entire Fly for MS team, including the “invisible” once who helped organized the entire mission and supported Keith and I during the journey. But that wasn’t possible, so I’ll by thanking them, as without them all this would not have been possible.
Reni de Boer, well-known MS advocate, and the only young person on the board of the MS International Federation, joined us together with Jaqueline Solleveld, from the Metherlands MS Society, in Chicago to fly the last leg of our mission, from Chicago to New York. This was not just a symbolic gesture. Together with Reni we are working on setting up an international group of young people with MS, and we planned on starting to brainstorm on the next steps.
And finally my speech. The one notable thing about it is that it was probably the first time I managed to take less time speaking than I should have. I do have a tendency to go into details, and every journalist I spoke to begged me to keep my answers short, but I just couldn’t! This time, I was so worried that I’ll go over the time I had available, that I think I finished with a few seconds to spare