Glew and her crew fight MS
Glenview Sunday 5/6/12 Linda Glew greets supporters at the Multiple Sclerosis walk at Gallery Park in Glenview. | Jerry Daliege~for Sun-Times Media
NAME: Linda Glew
KNOWN FOR: Her “Glew Crew” raised more than $26,000 to fight multiple sclerosis in this year’s Walk MS event.
Updated: June 11, 2012 8:55AM
When Linda Glew was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2008, the first thought through her mind was “I don’t have time for this!”
Four years later, Glew, of Wilmette, has instead made time to help fight her disease by leading one of the biggest teams of fund-raisers for the Greater Illinois chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
On May 6 her “Glew Crew” of more than 110 friends and family, clad in rainbow tie-dyed T-shirts, raised more than $26,000 in Walk MS, the largest annual fund-raiser for the society.
“It was great,” she said Monday. “We escaped the rain and everyone had a great time.”
In fact, her team kicked off Walk MS opening ceremonies at The Glen in Glenview, one of 11 sites across Illinois where walkers raised money to fight the disease. It’s an honor the Glew Crew has had for the past few years precisely because of its success.
Money the team raised this year, including the $15,800 brought in by Glew herself, added to the North Shore Walk MS event’s $245,000 goal.
Glew said last week that she continues to be happily surprised at the number of people willing to take the time to walk, and donate money to the cause.
Her introduction to multiple sclerosis proved anything but happy. Glew was busy raising three children with her husband, Chuck, when she began having disturbing symptoms of extreme fatigue, double vision and numbness on her left side.
Within a relatively quick four-month period, doctors had pinpointed the culprit as multiple sclerosis, the chronic disease of the central nervous system that strikes at an estimated 400,000 people across the country. After that, it took another four months for the medication she was put on to help control the symptoms.
Since then, life has been a balancing act, she said: “I muster on, which has been my mentality ever since I was diagnosed, but I listen to my body. If I’m tired, I’ve learned I can dial out of social plans and go to bed if I feel symptoms coming on.”
She is more fortunate than many with MS, she said, some of who must deal with recurrent or progressive symptoms ranging from slurred speech and tremors to blindness and paralysis.
Even though most people with MS won’t become severely disabled and will have a normal or near-normal life expectancy, they and those who love them must learn to live with the ailment’s unpredictability.
“I definitely think getting MS has changed my views on life. I don’t let things get to me as much, I don’t let the little things bring me down,” Glew said.
Glew’s fund-raising efforts started soon after she was diagnosed. She joined a friend’s Walk MS team that first year, then formed her own team the next year.
“Back then, it was just my family and a friend of ours, and another family who decided to help. The second year we had maybe 50 people, so a friend made a banner for us. By last year I think we had 85 people.”
One of the positive side effects of deploying her own team, Glew said, is “that it’s made me more aware of how many people are affected by this. Once people learn you have MS, they’ll tell you their cousin has it, or their college roommate has it. Along with that is the awareness that people can live active lives with the disease.”
To learn more about Multiple Sclerosis, visit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s site at nationalmssociety.org. For more on local society events or resources, check the society’s Greater Illinois Chapter, at nationalmssociety.org.