As many of you know, my mom has MS.
She was first diagnosed many years ago, while I was still in the Army. When she got the news, her first thought was that she didn’t want her kids to worry. So, she kept the diagnosis to herself, until eventually, she couldn’t hide it anymore.
The day she told my brother, sister and I was a hard one. There’s no cure for MS and, in my mom’s case, it’s degenerative. There have been days where she literally couldn’t physically get out of bed.
But Mom taught us all to fight for what we really want, even when the work is hard or the odds aren’t great. So, we decided to fight for a cure for MS.
My sister and I started participating in an annual long-distance bike race to fund research. She rode and I helped park the bikes each evening. And when Mom was feeling up to it, she came to cheer us on.
One year, during the race, Mom looked at us and said, “I have a surprise for you.” And, just like that, she hopped on a bike. Years into her diagnosis, she found the strength to ride alongside her family and her friends in a race to save her life.
Since that day, she’s kept fighting. Even when my Dad, the man she’s lived side by side for nearly 50 years, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and had to be moved into assisted living. Even when Republicans threatened to take away the “entitlement program” that helps her afford the 20 different drugs she needs to stay independent and visit him.
I met a lot of tough guys in the Army and on the job site, but nobody, nobody, fights like my mom.
So thank you to all of the women who are marching today, and who have spent the first year of the Trump administration fighting for your rights and those of your friends and neighbors. You’ve always had our backs, and it’s long past time we had yours.