UNCG Campus Weekly

Campus Weekly is published each Wednesday when classes are in session. In the summer, it is published biweekly.

MS: Sally Bekoe’s journey

031611Feature_SallyBekoeWhen Sally Bekoe (Contracts & Grants) awoke on July 9, she stood to rise. And fell to the floor. A terrifying moment, she said, suddenly paralyzed from the waist down.

The diagnosis was Multiple Sclerosis, an auto-immune disease of the central nervous system. “It was pretty devastating,” she recalls. But rehab over the next few months brought success. “I started wiggling my toes, in rehab.”

“Here I am, back at work,” she said in an interview. “It’s real. I can walk again.” She returned to work in September.

HealthyUNCG, Spartan STEPS and the Campus Rec Center have been great campus resources, she says. She has made use of the employee health programs they offer.

For her, diet and exercise are key.

“The HealthyUNCG assessment was great for having real-life examples about what serving sizes are and portions for healthy eating.” She got these examples during the free employee health assessment HealthyUNCG provides to any employee. She explains it is “pretty detailed.”

“An assessment like this, if it were done by a licensed nutritionist off-campus, would cost big bucks. I am grateful for access to that.”

She logs her steps into the Spartan STEPS web site to keep track of progress for her nutritionist followups – “I print out the whole log” – and the Campus Rec Center serves as her rehab facility during the week. Rosenthal Pool is especially great.

She has reports from Spartan STEPS and from HealthyUNCG in hand. “I show the progress reports to my physician, and he and I set up a plan to make changes in the areas indicated.”

Bekoe is in pain often, though she may not show it. MS is “a disease no one else can see,” she explains. She has a walker and a wheelchair, for when she needs them.

She has been working at UNCG for the last six years and is currently in Contracts & Grants, where she sees health grants and proposals coming through. The health-related research throughout campus takes on personal significance.

The Greensboro chapter of the MS Society met last semester at UNCG. She is organizing a group to participate in or support the March 26 “Walk MS” at the N.C. Zoo in Asheboro. She says about 30 have joined so far.

Regina McCoy Pulliam (Public Health Education) is looking to the April 16 MS Triad Walk in Kernersville. “I am a participant in the walk and it is because I have MS. I was diagnosed July 2007 and have been ‘making strides’ ever since,” the assistant professor said. She notes that it took some time until she started sharing her story with others – she didn’t want the extra concern or comments. But, like Bekoe, she wants to help bring awareness to the campus.

“I’m finding out a lot of students and faculty have MS,” Bekoe adds. “I’m not the only one.” It affects every age, every sex, every demographic, she says.

Those interested in learning more about the local MS Society or the Walk MS can email s_bekoe@uncg.edu.

More information about Bekoe’s walk team is at http://main.nationalmssociety.org/site/TR/Walk/NCCWalkEvents?team_id=223759&pg=team&fr_id=15491

More information about Pulliam’s walk team is at http://main.nationalmssociety.org/site/TR/Walk/NCCWalkEvents?fr_id=16202&pg=personal&fr_id=16202&px=3879615

Each of them welcomes others to join in the walk and learn more about diseases like MS.

By Mike Harris
Photograph by Chris English