Published: May 1, 2007 | 6140th good news item since 2003
Across Canada university students are finishing up their final exams and looking toward a summer of work, or for graduates, a lifetime of it. Tonight’s Everyday Hero is one of them.
At a time of broadening horizons in life, Julia Wilson has discovered hers will be limited. The way in which she has handled that devastating news, has become a symbol of strength to others.
At 6’4, Wilson is quite obviously a big woman on campus who has had a year of incredible highs and lows.
A few weeks ago, a mysterious tingling and numbness in her hands was diagnosed as multiple sclerosis.
For, an accomplished basketball star like Julia, this was a life altering change, because she relies so heavily on her sense of touch.
“It is such a frustrating disease. You’re never sure if what you’re feeling is normal, or MS. That must be frustrating for an elite athlete accustomed to control,” says Wilson.
“I don’t regret or think poorly about anything that has happened. Its part of who I am that makes me stronger. It’s something I’m going to have to live with.”
It’s the harsh reality for Julia, whose expertise at blocking shots helped the Simon Fraser University women’s basketball team win the national championship this year.
Unlike many young people who face a personal battle with a debilitating disease, Julia has at least tasted success and is surrounded by teammates for support.
The inspiring part of the story is how she refuses to let MS defeat her, which is such a source of pride for so many others.
When the MS Society held its walk for the disease in B.C., there were a large number of first-time walkers in red shirts.
Julia and her championship team were there for support – with hand created hearts with the letter JU on their bodies. It means I love Ju, which is what her teammates call her.
Competitive basketball is behind the senior forward, but graduate studies are ahead this fall as Julia Wilson learns what it means to live with MS.
Like many athletes they choose to lead by example, for Julia it’s a simple idea of following her dreams.
“Its kind of cliche and corny,” says Wilson “But it’s true.