Beating MS and proving doctors wrong, one year at a time

At age 17, Diane Sims was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). Along with this progressive disease attacking her brain, she became legally blind in one eye as a child, and now only has half vision in the other. Having also lost use of her legs overnight as a teenager, these challenges have not stopped Diane from living a successful life.

A prolific writer with five books published, three of which were published internationally, Diane has worked for the London Free Press, CBC Radio North, the Manitoulin Expositor as managing editor and various federal and provincial cabinet ministers as a speech writer.

As her condition continued to progress, she moved from walking with a cane until 2008, to using a wheelchair. Most recently, Diane suffered a broken femur during a transfer, dramatically affecting her mobility.

Through Cheshire’s Everyday Dreams Fund, Diane received an electronic lift in her bedroom. It has given her the ability to have a view from above, rather than below – finding joy in looking down at her garden through her window and feeling in complete control.

“That lift… I call it my eagle’s nest. I’m always in control and that is the real feeling of independence,” shares Diane. “I am so grateful for and blessed by the individuals who funded this amazing gift.”

Diane also sees Cheshire staff fives times per day, which is made possible through funding from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. From completing daily routines, preparing dinner, to house chores and daily exercises, she is extremely thankful for their dedication and support.

“There are some very dark times, but with so much help from Cheshire, they do everything to help me maintain my dignity,” says Diane.

Diane is still able to do what she loves, like shopping with her friends and writing articles for various publications. “Cheshire’s support helps a person live in their own home and in their own environment. It’s such a gift.”

After being told she would be bedridden by age 27 and not survive past 35, Diane has proven doctors wrong. She recently married her husband Dennis and travelled to British Columbia to celebrate their first wedding anniversary and 42 years of surviving MS.

“Without their help, I don’t know where I’d be. I will say this. I would not be here if not for Cheshire.”