KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Wednesday is World MS Day, aimed at raising awareness for those living with multiple sclerosis, and one Knoxville woman set off on a cross country journey to do just that.
Melissa Lee has been living with multiple sclerosis for 12 years. Her service dog Eleanor is always by her side.
“She’s absolutely great. She can retrieve items for me,” Lee said.
The pair was getting ready to hit the road Wednesday to raise awareness for the disease.
“MS is what’s known as an invisible disease which means we may look perfectly fine, but we’re not,” Lee said. “Your body attacks itself. We have really robust immune systems which is not a good thing.”
The inspiration came from a piece of paper she found one day on her car.
“This says ‘You are parked in a wheelchair space. You are not crippled. You are using tag fraudulently. Despicable and I wrote your tag number down,” she read.
The note was left behind one day while Lee was running errands. So on World MS Day she packed her car and headed west.
“It’s just to say that we have an invisible disease but we are not invisible,” she said.
Lee said she can only drive about four hours a day so she expects it to take her about nine days to make it across the country to Los Angeles.
“You can wake up every morning and say ‘Oh woe is me. I have MS and I can’t do this or I can’t do that.’ Or you can wake up and be like ‘Yep another day. Get up and go,'” she said.
She is taking it as a chance to spread the word about MS and what it means for the people living with it every day.
“To raise awareness for the fact that people with MS can do, we will do. We may do it slower. It may take a little longer. It may not look as well as some other people can do it, but we can do it,” she said.
She is documenting her journey with a blog: www.MyMSRoadTrip.com.