"He Always Looks Good" 

About Me

I am a 59 year old single father of two caring and loving

children. Cameron, an outdoor and lifestyle photographer

and my beautiful and loving daughter Maggie a recent High

School grad. A simple man who has been living with Multiple

Sclerosis for 18 years, diagnosed in 2001. Also living with 

Type-1 Diabetes since 14 years of age (44 years).

Living with MS has been increasingly difficult, and to say

the least very challenging, robbing me of being able

to participate and enjoy so many activities. Prior to being 

diagnosed with MS I was a thrill seeker, an avid snow

skier, and a fearless mountain biker. I enjoyed running,

hiking, cycling, and surfing. I even played a good game of

golf and tennis. It was these activities and my passion for 

life I so thoroughly enjoyed living. 

MS has significantly changed my life in so many ways, yet

I am still compelled to wake up everyday, no matter how

poorly I may feel, with a smile on my face and an positive and optimistic view of life. What I have learned through all of this is that everyday truly does matter, now more than ever. As one door closes another one opens. I now view this is as my opportunity to become the advocate for MS I vowed to become the day I first learned I had MS. The challenges MS has saddled me with will always be a part of my life, while, my commitment remains the same to continually focus on improving upon the quality of my life and lives of others living with MS.

What They Don't See

When I tell people I have MS, the response I so often hear is  "You Look Great", 

with a smile on face I look at them and humorously respond back by saying, 

"That is what they are going to put on my Tombstone - He Always Looked Good".

Standing in front of you canes in hand, it is impossible for you

to know what I am really focussing on is my legs not going out 

from under me? Where and how soon I can sit down?

Where is the closest bathroom? and can make it there on time?

What is your name again? What did you just say?

Although, you may see me in a wheelchair or trying to walk

with two canes or a waker, there are so many more challenges 

I am dealing with throughout everyday and hour that are not

visible to others. This is often a topic of discussion within

my support group. To others we may appear as fully

capable as anyone. This is so often not the case with MS

having so many symptoms. Ranging across the board from

balance and mobility to severe cognitive issues, it is hard

see or understand what each one of us with MS is dealing

with on the inside.

Although similar in many ways, MS and the courses it may take is different for each of us. This is why when talking or writing about MS I often refer to the disease as "My MS".

This often the case when talking with others about MS, they always seem to have an aunt, uncle, cousin, co-worker, or hairdresser that has MS who is still working and just ran a marathon. This is good and I am truly happy for them. But, just because I look good, or anyone else with MS for that matter, its not alway the case. Though don't hold back, I will always welcome your compliments!

Dix ...

Dix, a name I hope all will remember. The nickname I was given at birth.  A nickname I

have not used since I was nine years old.   The Story behind the my nickname (Dix).

Born in 1960, son of Richard (Dick) and Marlyn Gardner. My father was an only child. His father's name was Max, and my father's uncle's name was Rex. my Dad's                                                                      Grandmother, mother of Max and Rex                                                                                  called my Dad Dix when he was a child. The name                                                                given to me at birth is Richard Jr. But, my parents thought                                                  it would be cute to call me Dix after the nickname                                                              my Dad's Grandmother used. This was obviously done                                                        without consulting me. Dix is the only name I knew and                                                      answered to as a child, and the name I entered grammar                                                    school using. All was good for the first few years of grammar                                              school, but as I grew older and advanced in grades my                                                        nickname took on a new meaning to the older boys in our                                                  school. Who would have ever thought that by the 4th grade                                                I would be teased every day about my nickname - Dix.

                                                                                                                                          Fortunately for me, after the 5th grade my mom was politely ask to move me to another school, that's another story. Moving to a private school in the 6th grade gave me the opportunity to begin using my real name, Richard. I have gone by Richard ever since. Though, even today after all these years my friends from grammar school still call me Dix. My father has since passed on and I am proud to carry on his name as Richard Jr. What better way now with the launching of my foundation to pay homage to my father than to once again use the nick name he gave me at birth - Dix

Richard Gardner (Dix)
dix@wheniswim.com
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