Meet Amanda Ellefson, diagnosed May 2003
Amanda Ellefson, of Inver Grove Heights, Minn., is a six-year veteran of Walk MS Twin Cities. She's also an active volunteer with the National MS Society, Upper Midwest Chapter, serving as a member of the 20s and 30s Advisory Group, volunteering as a Peer Mentor and speaking at Society fundraisers and oevents.
In what way has MS made the biggest impact on your life?
I squeeze all the potential I can out of each of my good days so that when the reality of unexpected rough days hits, I can rest and take care of myself. I see my MS as a gift that I get to share with others. It provides an outlet and purpose for me to give back to others by sharing what I have learned and to understand more intimately what others with chronic illnesses go through. I have learned to deal with physical issues as they come up rather than worrying about them before they even happen. I choose to have a positive outlook, though realistic, with my varying daily realities.
Why did you decide to participate in Walk MS?
I was tired of fearing MS and what it had done/would do to my life. I wanted to do something that would tangibly help the MS movement and bring purpose to my life with MS.
What’s your favorite thing about Walk MS?
My favorite thing about Walk MS is the overwhelming feeling that seeps into my very being as I walk alongside family, friends, others with MS, and strangers who are doing what they can to create a world free of MS. I love that each of us can do something to raise awareness about MS. It’s amazing to be part of a team and see all the funds that are raised for research and programs for those living with MS.
Are you involved in the National MS Society in other ways besides Walk MS?
I am currently a Peer Mentor, serve on the 20s and 30s Advisory Group, and occasionally speak on behalf of the National MS Society at fundraisers and other events. I am involved in my local MS Group to connect with others living with MS. I have enjoyed helping with registration at various National MS Society events and like participating in some of the educational and social programs as well.
What is one thing you wish people could understand about MS?
I wish everyone not living with MS could understand that I may appear well even if I’m not. Often people see me for short periods of time and don’t realize all the self-care it takes to be able to function on a day-to-day basis.