This post should have been last week and it would have made much more sense. Last week was National Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week. What does MS have to do with a Girl Crush you ask? Well, I’ll tell ya. My Girl Crush this week is my oldest sister Marcie Watkins. Marcie was 20 when I was born and spent a significant portion of her adult life writing for a newspaper. This is important only to illustrate why she will probably never read this blog.
What is really important about Marcie is that for the better part of my life, she has been an unsung hero. People who know Marcie are inevitably saying, “unsung? Really?”. This is because anyone who knows her is aware that Marcie, by nature, is quite outspoken about most topics. In fact, I’ve never met anyone with so many clear cut, strong opinions…about everything. No, Marcie is not and never has been a shrinking violet-except when it comes to her MS, about which she never says a word.
Marcie was diagnosed with MS, a degenerative auto-immune disease, in her early thirties. At this time in her life she was covering sports for a local paper. Marcie was a pre-Title IX college athlete. She played basketball at Georgetown and at 5 feet tall can probably still outplay most people I know even with only one properly functioning leg. She knows everything about college and some professional sports. It’s astounding. To call Marcie simply an athlete, or even a sports fanatic does not do her justice. So when MS took away her ability to continue with a job that fit her like a glove (Like that sports analogy? Cute huh?) it was surely devastating. Many people would have folded up their Press Pass and hit the road. But not Marcie. She just moved on over to the Health section of the newspaper and threw herself into those assignments with the same level of commitment and enthusiasm that she showed The Sports Page.
Ultimately, when Marcie had her son she left writing behind and instead chose the more relaxing and stress free job of (wait for it) substitute PE teacher. Her MS has continued to affect her vision and her ability to walk without a brace but she continues to teach little people Physical Education and now other classroom topics as well. If you need to reread that sentence I understand. I did say-PE teacher.
Throughout this illness, Marcie has fought every step of the way. She has endured hours of physical therapy. She works out on her own like a fiend and enters many clinical trials not only for her own maintenance, but to help further the search for treatments and a cure. Marcie should be the National MS spokesperson because of her unwillingness to let it slow her down. Not only does she fight like a champ, never once have I heard even the slightest complaint or why me from her. Of course she thinks it. And I’m quite certain her husband and son can tell a different story. They are heroes all on their own. But to the rest of the outside world, Marcie is a soldier who never betrays her unrest. For that alone, she is crush-worthy.
If Marcie ever does read this I’m sure she’ll point out all the ways I got her story wrong. She’ll edit the hell out of me like any good older sister would and probably should. But the important fact, the one I did not get wrong is that Marcie’s strength, courage and spirit are unparalleled. She is my girl crush this week for the woman she was before MS and the hero she has been to me since it entered her life all those years ago. Take that sis.
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