Submitted by Kaitlin Baker-Carr
Multiple Sclerosis has affected my family deeply in the last few years in various ways. In particular, my aunt: Katie Kirkham, a former counselor in the Poudre School District, has lived with the difficulties and stress caused by MS for 29 years, both in her personal life as well as in her work. This inspired me to focus my Gold Award on Multiple Sclerosis and spreading awareness through various means to help those families living with MS.
I created a book, “My Mom, MS, and Me”, which was really time consuming and stressful, but well worth the addition to my project. It includes an information page about MS, word searches, a crossword puzzle, and a coloring book story for children about Multiple Sclerosis. The coloring book; “My Mom, MS, and Me”, informs children about MS through a story written from the point of view of a young girl just finding out her mom has been diagnosed with MS. The book demonstrates a fun, yet informational way for families to become educated and more familiar with the disease. It answers many questions families may encounter when having a connection to MS.
I gave a speech to the Key Club, a group of about 100 students who volunteer and help with various events and groups of people at my high school. In my presentation to them, I spoke about my project and how I would like their help. Many students signed up for the team I created for the MS Walk and were interested to learn more about Multiple Sclerosis. I then continued on to share about my story and promote more around the school about how to join the Fossil Ridge High School team through the daily announcements, and talking to other individuals around the school. With the FRHS team of 26 people and the help of my Girl Scout troop; I was ready for the big day – the MS Walk!
On Saturday May 5th, my team members finally were able to meet the inspiration of my project; my Aunt: Katie Kirkham. She was enormously impressed with the number of students who came out to support the event and learn about MS. It was an amazing experience seeing my aunt communicate with so many students, who just months ago, had no idea of what Multiple Sclerosis was or how it affects so many people.
When the many individuals and teams began to cross the finish line, I was eager to hand out my books to the various families and their children participating in the walk. Every child who completed the walk had an enormous smile as they crossed the finish line to the cheers of the crowd and with one of my books in their hand to keep! With cow bells, big cheers, and congratulations from my Girl Scout troop, myself, and others, everyone finished the walk with a sense of accomplishment. Seeing my team cross the finish line gave me an incredible feeling, every one ended with a smile and a high-five; all having had a great experience. After being introduced by the radio talk show host Scott James from “Big Country 97.9”, I gave another speech over the announcement system to thank everyone at the MS Walk. I then continued to manage our kid’s tent, where three fellow Girl Scouts and I face painted, applied temporary tattoos, and made balloon animals for the children, as well as provided crayons to color in the coloring book section of “My Mom, MS, and Me”. By the end of the day, all of the books had been taken home with a child, ready to learn more about MS!
My Gold Award has been an experience I will never forget. So far, I have put in over 160 hours in my Gold Award, and have exposed the entire Fossil Ridge High School student body, including other individuals and counting.