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My name is Mark Forrette and I’m honored to be the ambassador for MS Walk Walnut Creek 2018. My MS story started with my formal diagnosis in 2010 and since then I have progressively worsened to the point where I had to stop working and now primarily use a wheelchair. My progression down this pathway of MS has been rather swift and unfortunately has taken away many of the things that I like to do in life especially outdoor activities and athletics.
Most of my life I’ve enjoyed an active outdoor life including backpacking, skiing, hiking, kayaking, and rafting. Since my diagnosis, I’ve had to curtail many of these activities but that is not stopping me from enjoying the great outdoors. I still travel, enjoy Photography, and spending time with my grandson Adam. I am fortunate to share my life with my wife Lynne and we have been married 27 years. Lynne is such an incredible part of my life and supports me in so many different ways. We were honored recently to tell our MS story in a new book by Ronda Giangreco and Jeanne Lassard published January 30, 2015. called A Dose of Devotion: How Couples Living With Multiple Sclerosis Keep Their Love Strong.
My professional life was mostly in Medicine either as a Nurse or a Nurse Practitioner in an emergency department. I also worked professionally as a member of the Department of Health in Emergency Medical Services in both San Francisco and Marin Counties. Volunteerism has been a big part of my life and through my membership in a Disaster Medical Assistance Team, I participated in disaster medical work in New York after the World Trade Center bombing and New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Now my volunteer life has me as a CASA working with foster youth. Most of my efforts now in giving back to my community are as a result of the many volunteers in numerous organizations who have given so much to me after my diagnosis with MS.
My struggles with MS are big, scary, and create new challenges daily. I have set a goal for myself to always face my fears with courage and wisdom. Atul Gawande, in his book Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters, in the End, writes that "courage is strength in the face of knowledge of what is to be feared or hoped, and wisdom is prudent strength." I will strive to have the courage to seek out the truth of what is to be feared and what is to be hoped. Several organizations such as the Multiple Sclerosis Society of America and Can Do MS are helping me build that courage and that is why I am walking for MS and why I will continue to pursue fundraising. Research in MS, particularly Progressive MS, is ongoing and offers hope that this debilitating disease can be beaten.