My mom has multiple sclerosis, a debilitating disease causing interference between the brain, spinal cord and other areas of the body.
There is no cure, and the cause is unknown.
Some people are hardly affected, living normal lives.
In severe cases, people lose the ability to walk and speak clearly.
My mom has no control over the lower half of her body, limited control on the upper half, and she struggles at times with simple conversations.
Throughout my life, I have witnessed the disease slowly take control of her body, developing more symptoms as time has passed.
Still, it didn’t stop her from always being there for me, whether it was sitting on the sidelines when I played sports or simply telling me how much she supported me.
Though I still got to do many of the things I enjoyed, I had to grow up sooner than I wanted.
It was often hard to deal with and hard to appreciate then.
But now, I am thankful.
My dad supported me, too, but it was less noticeable to me at the time.
We seemed to disagree and fight more often than not. I always thought I was right, something I inherited from him.
Looking back, I can see he was trying to teach me to be responsible, to focus on what matters.
Most of all, he taught me how to become a good man, like he is.
And now, I am thankful.
My uncle and grandparents also played a big role in getting me to where I am today. They were always there for me, from the time I?was born to now, a soon-to-be college graduate.
It has been almost four years since I started college at Murray State.
I had no idea where I would end up, but my dream was to come out prepared for life, with a real job and ready to start a family.
The road I took was one I could never have imagined, but I was lucky enough to arrive at my destination.
I?could have gotten lost in all the sex and alcohol that comes with a public university, but my upbringing allowed me to stay focused.
My freshman year I developed a close friendship with Jared Jeseo that cannot be explained with any amount of words.
I?also met Howl Bean, another friend who I?can confide in and would trust with my life.
My sophomore year I started working at The Murray State News, where I’ve held four different positions.
As a photographer, I followed the men’s basketball team when it went on a historic run and was the last undefeated team in the nation.
As the Sports Editor, I was able to interview coaching legend Johnny Reagan and Olympic gold medalist Pat Pitney.
Now, I have a job lined up doing what I love.
As a member of the Honors Program at Murray State, I was required to study abroad.
I chose to go to London for a month last summer.
Again, words are not enough to express the memories I?brought back.
From great friends to remarkable sights to crazy experiences, few things in life could ever match my time in London.
For all Murray State has given me, I am thankful.
Most importantly, though, I?found Meghann Anderson here. It was not love at first sight, or second, or third.
But it is love. And happiness. And all other things good.
I think it’s her smile. It gets me every time. And those eyes – I can get lost for days. And that laugh – it’s the best music there is.
At any rate, when I look at my future, she’s what I see. That’s all that matters to me.
That’s why I asked her to marry me. She said yes and made me the happiest man alive.
It’s more than I could ever ask for.
For you, Meghann, I am the most thankful of all.
Story by Ryan Richardson, Sports Editor