I knew I had to talk to Carolyn Wold when she said she took her daughter to Lourdes.
The Virgin Mary appeared to St. Bernadette in Lourdes in 1858 and opened a spring that Catholics believe cures disease. Maybe Lourdes does work, but most people refer to it in an "I need a miracle" sort of way.
Jim and Carolyn Wold's daughter has multiple sclerosis and needs a miracle.
You could get the idea from my columns that MS is about bicycles. I ride the MS-150, at the end of June, on a bicycle. For three years I've done the tour with Youth Impact's bicycle program.
The call from Carolyn reminded me that bicycles are fun, but MS can make you so desperate you think "Yeah, Lourdes."
MS is a nerve-destroying disease. It can kill, but many victims live for decades. Some people get so sick you wonder how they manage.
MS defines the amazing Wold family's existence, although Jim insists MS has not "hurt" them. It has made their lives one of love and service to their daughter's needs. This is what parents do, Jim said. There is no other way.
Their daughter is also Carolyn, so we'll use her nickname, "Skeeter."
Skeeter is 55 and has two children who don't live in Utah. Her MS, diagnosed in 1981, got steadily worse until it destroyed her 22-year marriage.
She's stuck in a wheelchair, barely able to move her legs or arms, but is bright, cheerful, jokes a lot and is fun to be around.
Her father goes several times a day to get her in and out of the wheelchair, into and out of bed, and to help her eat. If she is in pain at 3 a.m., she calls Jim.
"He's the person, not me," said Carolyn. "He goes over every night and lays her down. She cannot lay herself down. So, caregiver is Jim Wold. How long?" and she looked at him.
He shrugged. "Ten years? 12?"
A decade of multiple visits per day. What else?
They bought Skeeter a house in Washington Terrace so she'd be close. They bought a van to take Skeeter to appointments. They took her to Vegas in the van once, but it's old and the AC is iffy. Heat really bothers people with MS.
I asked Jim and Carolyn and Skeeter if I could tell you their story because I didn't want the disease to get lost in all my bicycle stuff. MS affects thousands of Utahns. The MS Society spends thousands per year on research and programs. I tell the kids at Youth Impact that people like Skeeter are why they ride.
I know you are wondering. "Did Lourdes work?"
Lourdes is in France. Carolyn and Skeeter went in 1997. "She was able to get into the water with all the help of the nuns. We both did," Carolyn said.
Skeeter's still in the wheelchair, but "I really truly believe that between the drug she's on and Lourdes, she wouldn't be with us. She does, too."
I never argue with divine intervention, but I saw a plaque that Skeeter has displayed very prominently in her home.
It says, "The only man a girl can trust is her daddy."
Jim Wold and the Virgin Mary make a heck of a team.
SBlt WANT TO HELP? I'm still collecting donations. If you can, make the check out to "National MS Society" and send it to Charles Trentelman, Standard-Examiner, P.O. Box 12790, Ogden, UT 84412.
Or go to www.curemsutah.org, hit "donate" and search for my name.