Before attending our Can Do program in 2008, Alice Plain was on the right path to living fully despite her recent diagnosis of MS.
She was the head pro at a local golf course, which is a very physically demanding profession. Plain, who started her golf career in 1996, was diagnosed with MS in 2006.
After her diagnosis, Plain could have chosen to move on from her head pro position, but she didn't. In fact, she did the opposite and found ways to increase her involvement with the Pro Golf Association.
In 2012, she was the first woman to earn the Bill Strausbaugh Award for Excellence. It was awarded to her by The Colorado PGA West Chapter for her work in mentoring of young golf professionals.
Plain used the philosophies we teach to aid her in improving her own health, along with mentoring other aspiring golf professionals, all while supporting local war veterans and children interested in learning to golf.
"After attending the Can Do program, I learned a lot about the ways I could help myself," she said.
One of Plain's biggest battles with MS is the numbness in her legs. After the program, she realized that it was better for her to walk while playing a round of golf than to ride in a cart.
"I enjoy walking when I play golf," she said. "It gives me more time to socialize and relax with the people I'm playing with."
That wasn't the only thing Plain learned.
"The Can Do program helped me realize that I need to make the most of every day, whether I'm playing golf, working, biking or hiking," she said.
Plain has taken this philosophy and run with it. A few years ago, she started mentoring young aspiring golf professionals. The goal of the program was to prepare them for a successful golfing career.
Instead of giving them mundane tasks, Plain decided to give them as much responsibility as possible.
"I wanted the young professionals to take ownership of their chosen career and make the most of their time while I was mentoring them," she said. "Which is why I gave them more responsibility than usual. The more hands on they were, the better. I looked at myself more as their coach than as their boss."
Plain's dedication to helping others never fades. Throughout the years she has spearheaded programs to bring local children out for action-packed days of lessons and rounds of golf.
Along with teaching children to golf, Plain also works with the Vail Veterans Program, run by Cheryl Jensen, to give veterans a chance to get out on the golf course.
"It's amazing to see how playing golf can bring a smile to people's faces and allow them to forget about their worries," Plain said. "This is a gift that golf has given me and I love passing that on to children and veterans."
One of the best things about our jobs here at Can Do MS is getting to meet and stay in touch with our program participants.
Some participants are so inspired by what we do that they choose to give back to others in their community.
For many, battling MS seems like a full-time job.
However, after attending one of our programs, they realize that MS is only one part of who they are. Some choose to focus on improving their own health, others choose to exceed expectations in the workplace and others choose to give back to their communities.
Plain's Can Do story embodies all three of these. On behalf of Can Do MS and all the children, veterans and young PGA professionals, we thank you for being such an inspirational and dedicated mentor to our community here in the Vail Valley.
Next time you head to the Vail Golf Course, make sure to pop your head in and thank Plain for all she does for our community!
Scott Robinson is the marketing coordinator for Can Do MS, based in Edwards.