It has always been a goal and a dream of mine to work in the music business. I love to be involved in the production of shows, and to know I had something to do with a crowd full of smiling faces and dancing feet is one of my favorite feelings. One could imagine the shock I felt when I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and then, eventually, Chronic Lyme disease. Being the kind of energetic person I was, yes, this was quite a blow. But I am also the kind of person who refuses to let anything stop me from pursuing my goals.
Some of my physical limitations include stiffness, pain, fatigue, difficulty walking and more. There are days when running small errands can feel like walking knee deep in mud. I have found that what has helped me in the long term, that keeps me moving, is music–just getting out and attending shows.
Music is what I live for and while the illness tries to stop me in my tracks, music was the one thing that would save me and help me to continue to pursue my goals. Music moves me, literally. If it weren’t for the music I may not be where I am today: working at shows, putting on shows, and going to shows.
I was first diagnosed with MS in 2000 and graduated the next year with honors. Soon I produced Connecticut’s very first solar-powered concert. I continued to produce shows and also started my own business so that I could have flexible hours and manage my illness. I now help run a small sound company with my partner and also do sound and lights for a local Connecticut-based Grateful Dead cover band.
Recently I got involved with HeadCount–a great organization that puts me right where I like to be. HeadCount gives me opportunities to put myself in that musical space where everyone speaks the same language and can share in the healing vibes that music brings to us all.
I was incredibly moved on Friday night August, 15th when I worked the HeadCount table at Forest Hills Stadium during a Santana Concert. It was a perfect night for an outdoor concert and the vibes were incredible. Santana has a way of connecting with his audience and making everyone feel what he is feeling and this night he was feeling “grateful”. The way he interacts with his audience is amazing! I left that concert feeling better than I did all week long and I have this awesome HeadCount Santana experience to thank for it.
While at the Santana show I tons of people approach me while I was on my scooter. I use my scooter to help me get around, but don’t necessarily need it to stand. Kids love me and people in wheelchairs seem to take an interest and at least come over to say hi. An older gentleman in a wheelchair-scooter compared rides with me and even challenged me to a race! I always enjoy interacting with folks and it is always a pleasure to see others with challenges like mine getting out and about. It makes me smile and that makes them smile too; it is very infectious!
I hope to do more shows soon, and I invite anyone who may be interested to check out the awesome volunteer opportunities this organization has to offer. It really feels good to do it. It also made me feel good to help the others who were looking for the ADA accessible entrance so they can get up to the handicapped viewing platform. That is what it’s like for me everywhere I go–I get to feel like Julie McCoy from the Love Boat! I am a cruise Director, at your service! Seriously, though I’m really glad I can be there to assist, even if it is just pointing someone in the right direction.
I wanted to mention, also, that besides the wonderful opportunity to get to meet lots of people and enjoy great music, I think helping others to register to vote is an incredibly worthwhile experience. It makes me happy inside knowing that I am partially responsible for empowering people to exercise their right to vote!