Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Australian of the Year and MS-er

It's come to my attention that the 2011 Australia of the Year has MS.  Bet you didn't know that!!  Yeah, I know, perhaps you did, it was announced months ago - so maybe I am really the last to know...  Anyways in case you didn't, or if you forgot, his name is Simon McKeon.

Simon has an impressive resume and is well known as a prominent investment banker,  he is an active philanthropist, climate change advocate and accomplished yachtsman, not to mention handsome - with a mop of wavy dark brown hair (can't fail to mention the important things).

He has had some fairly frightening MS symptoms - temporarily blinded and paralysed from the waist down.  He says that, one thing he firmly resolved after this, was that he would try not to take any day for granted. He didn't want to leave, having a very serious connection with the community until he was old and past it.  Clearly he has the fighting spirit and has used it to overcome his diagnosis and become a highly successful man.  This is an inspiration to me... just because you have a terrible diagnosis, doesn't mean you can't harness the emotions surrounding the diagnosis and use them for good to whatever level you wish.

It got me to thinking about other Australians with MS - celebrity Australians as they seem to be most often recognised as role models... I came up with Chrissie Amphelett of The Divinyls, Betty Cuthbert Olympic gold medalist in sprinting and Collen McCullock - great Australian author, although she rarely publicly mentions she has MS.  And that's it, thats my list... do you know anymore?  Surely there are more... leave me a comment if you know more celebrity Australians with MS please.

The important thing to remember is that, even though the majority of people with MS are not celebrities, we are all inspirational in our own right, to the people who know and love us well and to those we have just met.  Keep on keeping on people... be inspirational by being the best person you can be one little baby step, moment or day at a time.  Good luck.

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