A THOUGHTFUL AND INFORMATIVE e-mail arrived last Monday in response to
that day's "Around Sunol" column and I thought I'd
share some of it with you. Sandra Rollins of Livermore
wrote that although she was moved by the stories of recent walks
for charity by Heather Shea and Sandi Bohner,
she was concerned about the impression left by a quote I used
Sandra Rollins wrote, "I applaud Ms. Bohner's achievement
and know her heart (and her feet) were in the right place. One
thing I think should be cleared up, however, is the statement
that says 'Eventually, MS leads to double vision, paralysis
and blindness', as if that were an inevitable fate for everyone
with MS." She brings a very important issue to light, noting
that each person is different and has different symptoms. "To
make a blanket statement like that does a disservice to people
with MS who are leading normal lives, and to those newly diagnosed
who are looking for information," Sandra said.
Neither Sandi Bohner nor I could agree more. Sandi's statement,
taken from her pledge request letter, was a worst-case scenario
meant to point out how urgent the need is for awareness, fundraising
and research. I apologize for my insensitivity in not placing
that description at the one end of the continuum of outcomes
for people with muscular dystrophy.
If anything clarifies the other end of that continuum, it is
the energetic lifestyles of these two women. Sandra will be
60 next month and was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy 20 years
ago. She initially experienced weakness, double vision and walking
problems that led to the need for a wheelchair. "I used
a cane for two years for short distances but gradually worked
my way to a remission and never looked back," she stated.
"I wanted to dance at my daughter's wedding, and dance
Sandra has been nearly symptom free for the past 18 years,
has a fulltime job, works out three nights a week, and recently
made her first climb on an indoor rock wall at the Sunrise Rock
Gym in Livermore. In April, she walked the 6.2 miles of the
March of Dimes Walkathon with her employer, Hanson Aggregates
in Pleasanton, where she works in the credit department. "I
walk, bike ride, dance, do whatever I want," Sandra wrote.
"I realize I am incredibly lucky to have what they call
a 'benign' case of MS, but there are many others who also have
And most days Sandi Bohner is one of them. Every now and then
she feels weak or suffers from pain in her arms, but you'd never
know it watching her zoom in, out and around her Little Valley
bistro. In addition to walking marathons and working full time
establishing and expanding Little Valley Vineyards, she is on
the board of the Livermore Valley Wine Association, is active
in the Sunol Business Guild, and takes very good care of her
"babies", as she calls her grape seedlings!
Thanks, Sandra, for sharing your valuable feedback, and thanks
to both of these inspiring ladies for caring, making a difference,
and making every day count.
CALENDAR NOTE: There will be a Sunol Citizen's Advisory
Committee meeting Wednesday (8-7) at 7 p.m. in the Sunol Glen
School cafeteria. There are four items on the agenda, all of
which may be of interest to residents. Two companies are seeking
permits to construct and operate wireless communications facilities
in Sunol, Cingular Wireless at Pleasanton-Sunol Road and the
northeast corner of Paloma Way, and Nextel of California at
5500 Niles Canyon Road.
Also to be discussed is Mission Valley Rock Company's plan
to expand their existing pits on Athenour Way from 140 feet
deep to up to 250 feet deep. The final item on the agenda is
Jim O'Laughlin's request for a review of development options
for the former gas station site at 233 Bond Street. Please come
and learn about these projects and provide the committee with
your views and concerns.