Dear Mr. and Mrs. Romney,
I hope that after the ordeal of running for the White House, this letter finds you in good health. While I'm sure there are many like me that would like to be President or First Lady, because we believe there are many things that need to be fixed in this country, we either don't have the means and ability to run, or wouldn't' want to go through the ordeal that is running for the White House. I applaud you for doing so, especially Mrs. Romney as I also suffer with MS and only those who live with this disease can understand what you, ma'am, fought through each and every day. MS attacks come and go, but the symptoms of the disease are still there and invisible, and require a great deal of strength and will power to fight each and every day. You earned my admiration each and every day as you campaigned this past year, as I suppose only someone who knows what the invisible aspects of MS can be like.
Which is how I come to the point of my letter. The media reports that you are upset, understandably, about the loss. And your husband is in a state of boredom. I envy your ability to return to your horses for therapy, I had to give up my english riding lessons due to financial hardship (I've ridden western since I was four but always wanted to learn english). It is great therapy for someone with our condition. People may make fun of it, but for someone with MS who deals with balance, coordination and focus issues, and often a sense of disconnect, being able to feel that connection with an animal you love, get healthy exercise and constantly have to work on balance, coordination and focus helps a great deal. I have greatly missed my time riding.
Mrs. Romney, if you want to do something meaningful for this country, create a legacy after your run, why not share your love of horses and the therapy they provide with other MS patients around the country? When I was only 12, 13 - young and healthy - I worked for Halleck Creek Ranch helping handicapped children learn to ride horses just out of love of riding and horses. Back then I already knew the joy they bring. You know the good they can do for someone with our particular disease and you have the love of the horse, the means and the ability to bring that to others that share your particular disease. This is an unselfish request because I live in an area unlikely to be touched by whatever programs you may start. I just know that when I was learning to ride english, it was amazing the difference it made in my mental and physical health, and I know how much I've changed since I've had to give it up. You could make a big difference in the lives of MS patients by sharing your passion with them.
And Mr. Romney, you are an amazing and loving man who has stood by your wife, cared for her when many others would not have done so. My husband and I had a healthy upper-middle class life with a small business, but I got sick and before I knew it my marriage of 14 years was over. I am not alone in this. You know what MS can do to someone, how vulnerable it can leave a person, especially if they are alone in the world or have children to try and care for. You can help these women. You can help them go back to school to rehabilitate if, like me, they find they cannot remember their most recent career but they can remember, say, their calculus from 25 years ago. That's why I'm going back to finish my teaching degree. I found hope because of the things I can remember and a long forgotten dream that I gave up to raise a family, and if I can finish the ability to give back to my community.
But I may not be able to make it alone, my divorce judge was not kind, and if I can't, I will be one of the people that slips through the cracks because of a cruel illness you know a great deal about. If I can succeed, I will be doing something worthwhile with my life and will be giving back to society rather than becoming a burden on it. This can be an opportunity to reach out and help those who don't want to just give up, curl up and live half-lives on disability and federal/state assistance. I'm so tired of being asked why I don't just apply for disability - it's because I'm not done with life yet, I'm not done achieving what I can, giving what I am capable of giving, if I'm given a chance. Reach out and help those like me that want to go back and retrain our brains to do something positive with our lives, who want to go through the door that opened when the other closed.
So there's your answer. Turn life's tragedies into triumphs of the human spirit. It is what I am desperately trying to do with my life. I will help you if you want. I will work through the fatigue, I will screen scholarship applicants until my eyes cross, even while going to school myself. But don't let a defeat defeat you. You both have the answers right before you. You both can make huge differences in the lives of women, many of them mothers, who live with a disease that is, as you both know, invisible until it is not. Relapsing-Remitting MS for most of us never really goes into remission, but we can fight through it and still be productive if given a chance.
I've made my case. I wish you both and your family well.
Oklahoma City, OK