Northwest NEWS

December 24, 2001


Americans will weather this storm

As we start another year of this uncertain new millennium, it's easy to feel worried, scared and pessimistic. But instead I feel a great sense of hope. Why? Because I know and trust the spirit of ordinary Americans.
   We here in this country don't like to be told we "can't." When life pushes us down, we push back and raise ourselves up. I can think of no better example of that than the Muscular Dystrophy Association's 2002 National
   Goodwill Ambassador, Mattie Stepanek.
   Mattie's body is severely weakened by a neuromuscular disease, but his spirit is extraordinarily strong. He's written two books of inspirational poetry which have spent weeks on the best-seller lists. Mattie would
   compel our hearts under any circumstances, but at this time of national crisis his message of peace and love has special resonance. He helps us realize the potential of every human being to give something of precious
   value to others.
   It's imperative that we keep pushing back against the neuromuscular diseases that would rob us of people like Mattie. And during this holiday season, it's also important to heed the Mattie's life philosophy: "Remember to play after every storm."
   Americans will weather this storm as we've weathered all others: By giving generously of ourselves, by fighting oppression in all its forms - and by pushing back against those forces that tell us we "can't."
   May God bless all of us with a wonderful new year.
   Jerry Lewis, National Chairman, Muscular Dystrophy Association