Model: Shelly Gray
Multiple Sclerosis

The facts: I am 48, a native Austinite, and a single mother. I have a loving and supportive family. I work full-time as an employment lawyer. I have a law degree, and a Master’s degree in Social Work. I also have Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis.

Because I have always been referred to as “precocious” and “ahead of the curve,” it makes perfect sense that my MS has progressed quickly, regularly presenting me with new challenges and opportunities to choose my response. One of the guiding principles in my life is based on a framed photograph of a person with a disability riding a recumbent bicycle. The tagline above the picture reads: Life hands you a challenge. You have a choice.

I strongly believe that looking at every event as a positive experience is indescribably powerful. When I am overwhelmingly fatigued and having trouble performing routine activities, I stop, take some deep breaths, and remind myself that I live independently, surrounded by my belongings, working in a job that I love where my opinions are valued, and accompanied by my fabulous service dog, excellent friends and family, and outstanding son.

Focusing on the positive gives me strength, courage, confidence, and happiness. Facing every challenge head-on, looking at the good a challenge brings to my life, taking control of my life, and living the life I want in spite of, or because of, that challenge, are extremely valuable tools for building a meaningful life.

Always remember: The glass is half-full!


Photographed by Debra Ellsworth