Most Influential Who?

By Lauren Kovacs

I have been fortunate to have several influential people through my MS journey. I reflect on them based on the struggle of the moment. Every moment with MS changes. Thus, influence changes.

I look to my mom who was a military wife for years. She carted four small kids all over to globe to meet my dad at his new duty station. I reflect on her when I combat new MS monsters. Fear of the unknown is not going to get me.

I look to a gymnastics coach I once had, when I fall. Get up, check for serious injuries, and get back on the beam. I learned to take a shot of caution and keep going. I once fell off the beam nine times during a competition, but I finished the routine. Embarrassed, yes very, and if I was old enough, I might have had a margarita.

I look to a friend with a severely handicapped child. Endurance. She keeps going and is always happy. She never lets her struggles stop her. She went days with a busted wrist from putting her child’s wheelchair in the van.

One of my sons, at 14, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Even with having to test his blood sugar many times a day, he keeps up with Boy Scouts and Taekwondo. He shows me how to never give up and to work with what you have. Insulin shots while camping and watching his blood sugar during intense workouts is not easy for him. He went on to get his black belt in February. Giving up candy would have killed most teens.

There are lots of people in you life you can draw influence from. Yes, even people you don’t like. I once had a coach that I was not fond of, but when I think I can’t, I do it to prove her wrong, even years later.

Find small qualities in people you have around you. Draw from those qualities. You might be someone else’s influence too. Even losers win at something. Small things can have a big influence. MS folks learn to relish small things. Seek small influences.

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The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) is a national nonprofit organization and leading resource for the entire MS community, improving lives today through vital services and support. MSAA provides free programs and services, such as: a Helpline with trained specialists; award-winning publications, including, The Motivator; MSAA’s nationally recognized website, featuring educational videos, webinars, and research updates; a mobile phone app, My MS Manager™; safety and mobility equipment products; cooling accessories for heat-sensitive individuals; MRI funding; My MSAA Community, a peer-to-peer online support forum; MS Conversations blog; a clinical trial search tool; podcasts; and more. For additional information, please visit or call (800) 532-7667.


  • Mike says:

    Wonderful and inspiring. Thank you!!

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