A Tale of Two Causes

HIV/AIDS, KB's Journey, Multiple Sclerosis

All of my life, my #1 cause has been multiple sclerosis. I watched my mother fight the disease for almost 30 years, and learned to hate every single thing that this disease is capable of doing to an individual and their families. I volunteered for the MS Society, learned about the disease and took every opportunity to educate others about MS.

When I started The Red Pump Project in 2009, I picked up another flag to carry. This time, my fight centered around educating my peers and others about the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls. Being in this position has been a blessing and an eye-opening experience but I have a confession to make…

*whispers* I feel guilty about spending less time championing the fight against multiple sclerosis.

I hope that doesn’t sound crazy to you because I almost felt crazy typing it. After all, we can all stand for more than one cause and support more than one organization. But, for me…with my personal story, I feel like I’ve turned my back on something that was once all I could think about. When I promote the MS Society or encourage people to support the organization, I feel this tug like, “Should I be using my connections and networks to promote Red Pump instead?”

So, for now, I continue to be torn…Torn between a disease that strikes at random and a disease that can be prevented. One disease that affects all Americans and one that is disproportionately affecting LGBT and minority communities. I shouldn’t feel this way but I do.

I used to feel that my decreased involvement in the fight against MS meant that I was forgetting about my mother and her life. But, then I remember that she’s probably very proud of my work with Red Pump. I don’t know…I’m sure that I will get over this hump soon. The anniversary of her passing is this month so maybe that’s a factor in this little guilt-fest. Yeah, I’m going to chalk it up to that…but I’m still going to re-up my involvement with the Society in the meantime.

I think that should do it.


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  • Reply
    April 13, 2011 at 8:55 am

    I sometimes feel that way as well. I have a sister with Autism and my mother has had MS for about five years now. Trying to fully advocate for both has been a challenge and as a result I’ve not really been able to support the MS Society-Chicago. I’ve done the bike ride and walk in NYC but haven’t quite been able to make the connection in Chicago yet. Good luck to you! I’m sure you’ll find the right balance.

    • Reply
      May 6, 2011 at 9:40 pm

      Jamila – I’m so sorry that I’m just now responding to your comment. I’m glad that my “struggle” isn’t just a personal issue. I think that you doing those events is great! Although I’ve volunteered at the walk for several years, I’ve never actually walked in one. I’m really pushing myself to walk in this year’s Capital Challenge walk for MS in DC this September. I hope you do get involved in the Chicago chapter of the MS Society. They are a GREAT group 🙂

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