Over the past three years Fashion For A Cause Montreal has been raising awareness and funds to combat a range of diseases that have impacted on our community. This year, multiple sclerosis will be the focus of attention.
MS is a debilitating autoimmune disorder that strikes at any age without any warning and leaves those afflicted stricken with physical, mental and at times psychiatric issues.
Although there is no known cure, increasingly there are many treatments on stream helping people to deal with symptoms preventing future attacks.
Twenty-four-year old LaSalle resident Tristan Williams was diagnosed with MS in 2009 and have been staging a courageous pushback against the disease, raising awareness and spreading hope with his T. Williams MS Foundation.
Janice Small Wright and her team at Fashion For A Cause are readying themselves to join the fight with Tristan.
On May 27 (World MS Day) they will launch their GoFundMe Fundraiser Page to kick-start their fundraising initiative for this highly deserving initiative.
Then on October 10, the annual Rip The Runway fashion show, themed “Change for MS”, is expected to bring the disease and the foundation into the spotlight in the midst of a spectacular event featuring Montreal’s most alluring models and creative fashion designers.
Last year, Fashion For A Cause donated $5,675 to The Sickle Cell Anemia Association of Quebec, following what was also a sizable donation to the Prostate Cancer Foundation in 2013.
This year’s beneficiary, Tristan Williams tells a story of courage and defiance in the face of the disease which sneaked up on him in the prime of his life. Here is his story in his own words.”
My name is Tristan WilliaMS, I have been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis since 2009 and I am also honored to say that I am a two-time cancer survivor. At the age of 12, I found a lump in my neck, which was later diagnosed as thyroid cancer. After two successful surgeries, and a blast of radioactive iodine, I rejoiced with my family as the doctors told us that it was finally over.
At the age of 19, I was preparing to begin my first semester of college and I was excited to begin the next chapter of my life. However, my excitement was short-lived. I began to fall and experience numbness throughout my legs.
After many months of searching for answers, my neurologist diagnosed me with Multiple Sclerosis. I had no idea what Multiple Sclerosis was; never mind all the subsidiary issues that would also come along with this diagnosis. I struggled to find support from peers in my situation; so with the help of my dear friend and nurse, Jennifer Doran, we created The Road to You MS Support Group and The Tristan WilliaMS Foundation to raise awareness and develop a sense of community amongst my peers.
As I juggled both managing my disease and my personal endeavors, I was diagnosed with cancer for a second time. I underwent surgery to remove my right hip and replace it with a titanium prosthesis to rid the cancer from my bone. As I learned to walk again and fought to regain my mobility and sense of identity, I promised myself that I would find the strength to achieve the health and wellness that I knew I deserved. I also knew that this fight would not be in vain.
Today, I am taking the steps to empower myself as well as the people that surround me. I thrive on leading by example, and I use my unique experience to inspire and motivate not only myself but also my peers on our journey towards health and wellness.
My name is Tristan Williams and I am a Survivor!