On October 21st, I participated in the Scotiabank Marathon (and no, I didn’t run the Marathon… I did a measly 5km) alongside my fiancé and a few great friends.  This was my first time participating in a fundraiser for the Canadian MPS Society as an adult, and I can say that I have never been more proud. As I reflect on the past few years, after getting more involved with the Canadian MPS Society, I became more aware of the need to fundraise and bring awareness to this disease.

But it wasn’t the run that made me proud, it was the overwhelming support I received from my own community; family, friends and people I hardly knew that knew my brother Matthew, who had passed away over 10 years ago. I always knew Matthew had such a strong impact on those he met or interacted with. Matthew had a presence that was undeniably genuine, positive and loving. Although he couldn’t walk or talk in his later years (which is mostly how I remember him, as he passed away when I was 13 years old), he was empowering. He empowered others to use their gifts… to chase their dreams, and to do the things he couldn’t do. Matthew indirectly helped raise the Canadian MPS Society over $2,500 this past Sunday, and I am so proud of him. I am so thankful to my friends who participated in the run, particularly my fiancé Vic, and our dear friend Jacky Hau who ran the Marathon!!!!! (YES, all 42 km!!!! – hence the painful faces he is making in the image on the right). I am so thankful to be surrounded by people who would rise up to the challenge on behalf of my brother.

[ From Left: Terry (Board Member), Eric (close friend), Katie (me) & Vic (my fiance) ]

I remember when I first started running, I would get on the treadmill in my basement and sprint to “My Hero” by the Foo-Fighters, screaming out the lyrics and crying as I stared at a picture hanging up on the wall of the two of us. If he could make it through all the pain that he went through with a smile every day, I could damn well make it through a 5km run.

 

I often imagine that picture (the one on the right) of the two of us, when I am in need of some motivation. In the picture, Matthew is holding my hand and pulling me forward (a rare, calm occasion with my brother). I try to remember how every day he is pulling me forward, guiding me in my decisions. It was truly a great way to celebrate the life of my brother, and such an honour to witness the love and support of our community.

 

I am excited to utilize this platform to share more of our stories and experiences.  We, the youth, have a powerful impact on the future of this charity, in the ways we help raise awareness, raise funds to support families, and fund research for a cure.

Katie Di Ilio