Diagnosis: MS: Parenting: All You Need Is Heart

Says MS Mother of the Year Molly Wood, "I'm not going to let MS stop me from loving my life and doing the best I can."
Reprinted from PN September 2001
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In our somewhat off-kilter universe, we train people to drive cars, grow gardens, or program computers—but leave raising children to fate.

Despite a hectic schedule, MS Father of the Year Joseph Prizio attends his children's activities and helps with their homework.
Five decades ago, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) introduced an awards program to recognize outstanding parenting. Over the last few years, nearly 100 nominations have been submitted annually through the society's chapters and divisions by loving family members who have helped fill out submission forms championing their moms, dads, or spouses. This year, Molly Wood of Columbia, S.C., and Joseph Prizio of Brookfield, Conn., took top honors.

Since doctors diagnosed Wood's MS in 1984, she has become an invaluable and integral part of her church, community, and local MS chapter. She recently organized and performed in a local two-day benefit concert of John Rutter's "The Requiem," which drew 300 people and raised nearly $4,000 for MS research. Wood, 45, is a devoted mother of two—Emily, 16, and Sarah, 13.

Wood says the love and support she receives from her husband Dean has helped her accomplish many goals. "I'm not going to let [MS] stop me from loving my life and doing the best I can," she says.

Prizio's MS was diagnosed in 1982. He is a part-time college math professor, a devoted husband, and father of three children: Paul, 16; Ryan, 14; and Ashley, 11. At Western Connecticut State University (Danbury), his classes fill within hours of opening. He says he is not only teaching math but also giving students a lesson on ability.

"I feel my example will be a positive catalyst in their lives as they face their own challenges," Prizio says. "I tell them the only thing I can't do is walk."

In addition to parenting his own children, Prizio is proud about tutoring "at risk" high-school students at the Alternative Center for Education in Danbury. He assists them in mathematics, helping them graduate or achieve better SAT scores to gain college entry.

He says MS provided him with the time to consider the positives in his life, which prompted him to volunteer and teach.

The above information was provided by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, 733 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017-3288. (800) FIGHT MS / (212) 986-3240 /


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Diagnosis: MS: Parenting: All You Need Is Heart


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