Growing up with a dad that has MS has had many challenges to it. However, it has brought many positive things into my life as well. I'm Jackie Moritz, Steve Moritz's 16-year-old daughter and, as mentioned, one of the twins. When I was little, it was hard for me to understand what my dad suffered from. My friends would always ask why my dad was limping, which I never seemed to notice. I'd try to explain that he had a disease that made him not be able to walk as well. They didn't quite understand it, but it was the best way I could describe considering I had very little knowledge of what was going on myself. It wasn't so easy.
I'll start out with the negatives and then conclude with the positives. When I was about 10 years old I used to have nightmares about our house catching on fire and my dad not being able to escape because he couldn't run. Some nights I wouldn't be able to sleep thinking about this. When he started to run again it was such a relief. Also, even though he did as many sports with us as possible and was a great coach, it was always hard to understand why my dad couldn't run with us or play soccer against us. Especially when all of my friends would be talking about the various sports activities they did with their dads. It was incredibly difficult to understand, but not all is negative.
Moving on to the positives, when I grew to be older I became more and more curious about what MS was. So, I got an extensive knowledge on stem cells, MS, Transverse Myelitis, etc. I actually just wrote a paper for school on how stem cells could affect MS and Transverse Myelitis. I had to opportunity to meet so many smart and cool people through Project Restore, a research organization at Johns Hopkins Hospital that my dad is involved in. I have volunteered a lot with another organization my dad is associated with: Athletes Serving Athletes (ASA). ASA provides disabled children the opportunity to participate in triathlons, marathons and road races. I really love helping people wtih disability and want to continue when I'm older. I became aware of and later involved in these causes because of my dad's condition.
One more thing is: I learned to appreciate being able to do daily physical things much more. I now understand that so many people in the world are not blessed with legs that can walk or run, or arms that can type or write.
Maddie is the other twin and she too is actively involved in athletics:
Having a dad who has MS can be difficult at times, but in the long run it has been the best thing that's ever happened to our family. My dad got MS when I was a baby so I've never not known him without this disease. I never knew my dad as the extremely athletic man that he was; I only knew him as the dad who would trip on sidewalks and was not able to run. But today it's a completely different story.