I just left Vancouver Island and I am en route to Vancouver, via BC Ferries. I will be flying to Bali in the morning.
Two weeks ago I contacted Philip Fortier, the Director of MSA Defeat, who resides in Michigan. In 2013, at the age of 56, after a short 3 year battle, his brother Joe passed away of Multiple System Atrophy. During these years, it became evident to Phil that little research was being done on this disease and patient care. He is now an advocate for all those who battle this fatal disease.
In one of our phone conversations, Phil mentioned the MSA Shoe. Do you recall many years ago when your friend Amelia coordinated the “shoe” to come to Ottawa ? Well there are now 7 Shoes that are circulating around the world. They have travelled to over 20 Countries. Phil mentioned the Shoe had not been to Indonesia and I was honoured when he asked if I could take the Shoe with me on my travels. Two days ago, the Shoe was couriered to my home, and it is now travelling with me to Bali !!!!!
The “Sole” mission of the MSA Shoe is to raise awareness about Multiple System Atrophy by it’s symbolic world marathon.
The journey began as an innocent prank among a group of friends who would lift their friend’s shoe while he slept. A facebook page of photos was created to show the Shoe as it traveled about the the neighbourhood, ending up in the strangest of places and in the company of different people. Shortly into the gag , one of the friends – Gretchen – shared that when she showed the Facebook page to her mom, Pearl, she laughed for the first time in months. See, Gretchen’s mom Pearl was suffering greatly from the effects of Multiple System Atrophy. So the circle of friends decided to dedicate the Shoe to MSA, spreading laughter to patients and awareness to all !!!
The spirit of all MSA Angels, people that have passed due to MSA, live on through the travels of the Shoe – in all the people it meets on its journey and at all the places it travels throughout the world.
I find the story of the Shoe so ironic considering we too use the “angle” of laughter to often help us deal with this disease.
Karen, I personally thought how wonderful it would be to start this journey off by introducing the Shoe to the Master on board this ship. So last night I made a phone call to a wonderful friend who works on BC ferries and he got me up on the bridge. Josh, the Master, very graciously accepted.
Throughout my travels, I will share this story and bring as much awareness as I possibly can.
I love you sis,