Every once in a while we are lucky enough to meet someone who takes the can do spirit to a whole new level.
Last May, Bob Hughes attended our four-day Can Do Program in Vail for the second time. His sense of humor and overwhelmingly positive attitude became contagious. Whether he was telling stories of his five-day backpacking adventures in the Sierra Mountains or cracking jokes, he could bring a smile to a room full of people in an instant.
Bob was first diagnosed in 1988 when he was 32 years old. Like most, he went on quest to learn everything he could about multiple sclerosis. He found out about our Can Do Program in 1992 through a friend and decided to take a chance and travel to Vail to further his search for the best ways to manage his MS.
"I decided to take the bull by the horns and see how far he would throw me," he said.
As soon as Bob got to our Can Do Program, he knew he'd made the right choice: "When I first met Jimmie (Heuga), I was still struggling mentally and physically with managing my MS. He opened my eyes when he said, 'Wake up, Bob! There is still so much you can do!' And ever since then I've never looked back."
After returning home from the program, Bob's friends instantly noticed a new glow surrounding him.
"I know I realized there is so much that I still can do," he said.
Shortly after the program Bob flew out to California to complete a five-day backpacking trek throughout the Sierra Nevada Mountains with a group of adventurous people who were also living with a disability.
"I've always enjoyed nature and being athletic so this seemed like a perfect fit, I enjoyed it so much I went out and completed the trek again a few years later."
With so much that had changed in the MS care management field since 1992, Bob decided to attend our Can Do Program again in 2012.
"I looked at it as an opportunity to refresh my can do spirit and an opportunity to meet new people and share my experiences and learn from theirs," he said.
Once again, the program didn't disappoint and it couldn't have come at a better time.
This past December, Bob suffered a stroke. The recovery process is a long and hard one that is only made more difficult by his MS.
"Right after the stroke I had no movement of my left arm," he said. "I've been working hard and am now able to move it and pick things up. The can-do spirit I gained from the program has played a huge role in my recovery process. I feel blessed to have been instilled with the can-do spirit."
Bob is doing much better today. However, he is still working his way through the recovery process and takes it one day at a time.
It's amazing to meet someone who has been through so much, but who still keeps a positive outlook on life and cares so much for those around him.
We all have someone in our life like Bob who can light up a room by just walking in. So next time you see your "Bob," be sure to say thanks. We thank you, Bob, for never giving up and spreading your can-do spirit to everyone you meet!
A national nonprofit organization based in Edwards, Can Do Multiple Sclerosis is an innovative provider of lifestyle empowerment programs that empower people with MS and their support partners to transform and improve their quality of life.
For more information, visit the organization's website at www.mscando.org or call 970-926-1290.
Scott Robinson is the marketing coordinator for Can Do Multiple Sclerosis.