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People who know Flora Mortell will tell you that she is probably the busiest person they've ever known. She has always been an active go-getter who is not a big fan of hearing the word “no.“
But more than 30 years ago, Flora started to find that ordinary trips to the mall would leave her exhausted. She noticed tingling sensations in her body and bumped into things as she was walking.
Though she initially dismissed the symptoms, it didn't take her long to realize that something was wrong. A friend sent her information about multiple sclerosis and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, but Flora kept the envelope sealed in a drawer, letting denial take over.
"Back then, I hadn't learned that knowledge is power," she says.
Today, Flora wants to make sure that others diagnosed with MS won't feel as powerless and scared about its impact on their future. That's why she is active in the Greater Illinois Chapter as an advocacy volunteer. Advocacy is an important part of the organization's mission, one that helps raise awareness about the disease and involves a diverse group of committed people.
Having a political background is not a requirement for being an advocate. In fact, you really only need your voice.
“Part of being an advocate is reaching out to anyone and everyone about this disease and helping others understand that there is life after MS, and that it can be a wonderful life,“ Mortell says. “It's important for people to know what MS really means and to see people living with MS.“
“We have to share the responsibility for doing everything we can to find a cure. We have to keep legislators and the community aware of our needs and how they can help our fight.“
If you, too, want to inform and advocate the greater community about health-related issues, VolunteerMatch is your ally. Find an opportunity that's meaningful for you: Log in today!