Laurie Byro - MS Patient
Poetry saved Laurie Byro's spiritual life. It has also played a major role in helping her deal with MS. Not the symptoms from the disease but the way people treat her.
"I'm unwell but I look fine," Laurie, 56, said. "So people assume you're faking it when they see you park in a handicapped spot or can't work. When you think MS, you think wheelchair. But that's not always true. People make assumptions and sometimes that's difficult to deal with."
So Laurie writes poetry. Light, humorous poetry. She started years ago when her brother was dying of colon cancer and found it was a bridge to communicating with him -- he would read what she wrote and then they would talk about it. It made it easier, less intrusive, she said.
"It became a different way of looking at things - renewed my spirituality," Laurie said. "It's a human desire to want to create and poetry is accessible to everyone. Especially people struggling with illness - many are stuck in their own bodies and this is a way to express yourself."
Laurie, now an award-winning poet, said she can't imagine living without writing poetry. She seldom touches on the illness she's been battling for 13 years in her pieces but rather delves into the mythical, fairytale world born in her imagination.
"I do it because I have to do it and it helps me understand myself and others better," Laurie said.