By Christine Sinclair
When I was a young girl, my mom started using a cane. I never understood why.
It wasn’t until the first time I saw her cry that the answers began to unfold in front of me. I was no older than 12 when I found out my mom was living with multiple sclerosis (MS).
When you’re a kid, your parents are indestructible, and that’s what my mom was to me. Indestructible. But as years went by, I watched MS chip away at aspects of her life, and her fight against the chronic disease became more strenuous.
As an athlete, it broke my heart to watch my mom, who was so physically active, and seeing that slowly stripped away from her. My mom was an athlete, just like me: my first soccer coach. She played all kinds of sports and coming from a family of athletes, it was routine for us to go to the park every week and play outside.
But as her MS progressed, her mobility deteriorated. Eventually, she went into a wheelchair, and never came out.
My mom was always a fierce competitor, but never had I seen her battle a hurdle as immense as MS, where her biggest opponent is herself. Because of that, it took her some time to come to grips with her situation. I don’t think you’re ever okay with MS, but accepting the reality, and making the best of that has been the biggest journey for her, and the rest of my family.
Seeing the struggle my mom has gone through, I wanted to help. I’m at a point in my career where I feel like I can make a bigger difference beyond just what I do on the soccer field. Obviously, that’s something I’m passionate about, but this is about truly being able to help make a change and impact people’s lives. With the effect that MS personally has had on my family, I knew I needed to use the platform, I had to do something more. This inspired me to get involved with the MS Society of Canada.
My journey with the organization began in 2016 when I spoke at the Women Against MS event in Vancouver, and then the next year, joined the Burgers to Beat MS team to help raise awareness and enact change for the tens of thousands of Canadians living with MS.
Most recently, I was humbled to become the honorary chair for the Acts of Greatness campaign. To me, the campaign is about the million little things that people do daily which make the biggest difference, but typically go unrecognized. An act of greatness I’ve seen is the support that my mother has received from her friends and family over the years. I’ve personally seen firsthand what a difference these kind acts can make, and I want to do my part.
MS hits close to home, and I want to do everything I can to help people, just like my mom, enjoy life to the fullest.