Living the American Dream with MS

As the 47th lieutenant governor of the state of Illinois, a wife, a mother of three and a person diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I have a very full, but hectic life. I work every hour that I’m awake serving the people of Illinois.

My MS journey started in 2010 when I suffered an accident while walking. This fall resulted in subsequent MRI and medical examinations that revealed I had MS. At first, I had the blues — as you know, this is not an easy diagnosis to take. My husband was instrumental in helping me push forward by encouraging me to run for Wheaton City Council and to take a teaching position on top of being a trial attorney. With the support of my family and neurologist, I vowed to never let MS stop me.

In October of 2013, Governor Bruce Rauner asked me to be his running mate. It was then that I saw an opportunity to show by example that MS does not need to be an obstacle. If my story could empower others, then it was a story worth sharing. And if raising awareness can bring us closer to a cure, then I will continue speaking out.

In just the past six months, through MS Society events like the Women on the Move Luncheon and Walk MS, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and interact with so many MS warriors. As an MS warrior myself, and now the first Latina lieutenant governor in the state of Illinois — and the entire country — I want to do my part in raising awareness.

It has been assumed that MS uncommon in the Hispanic/Latino population, but that is not the case. Recent studies are showing an increase in the number of people throughout Latin America who have MS — a figure that is rising faster than the growth rate of that region's total population. As the fastest growing minority group in the U.S., it’s important to raise awareness about the disease across the Hispanic/Latino population in order to better educate individuals and families about available treatment options, resources, programs and services. It is my goal to help all those affected by MS to continue to move their lives forward.

As the saying goes, “If you’ve met one person with MS, you’ve only met one person with MS.” It’s a mysterious disease and every single case is different. But together, our stories are powerful and serve a real need in raising awareness and educating others about MS.

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Evelyn Sanguinetti

Evelyn Sanguinetti became Illinois’ first Latina Lieutenant Governor in January 2015. She was born to teenage parents in Hialeah, a neighborhood outside of Miami, Florida. Her mother was a Cuban refugee and her father, an Ecuadorian immigrant. She is a wife, working mother of three and an attorney by trade. She was formerly adjunct professor of law and a Wheaton City Councilwoman. She was diagnosed with MS in 2010. 

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  • Maria   Oct 1, 2015 2:08 PM
    Madame Lt Governor, Thank you for sharing. It is grand to see successful persons with ms. It gives us all the encouragement we need to keep plodding along.
  • Patti Shapiro   Oct 1, 2015 2:14 PM
    We met you at the MS Walk this year. My husband Steven Shapiro is on the Illinois Board and suffers from MS as well. We were so impressed with your sharing your story with the State of Illinois. You are a wonderful example of how individuals with MS can still be active members of their communities. MS has so many faces.
  • Carla Maria   Oct 1, 2015 3:49 PM
    I am Portuguese also diagnosted MS in december 2009. But I keep fight professionaly. You can visit my town visit me that I am promoting my town.
    You can see here

  • Cici   Oct 1, 2015 11:33 PM
    Dear Evelyn,
    your courage is undeniable. As another Latina living with MS since 1997 in Miami, I much appreciate you speaking about such as personal topic.

    You are empowering every person who reads your post to move forward, and not let the winding, and emotional roller coaster that is living with MS
    get you down.

    Thank you for sharing your story.
  • Diane M Zupo   Oct 2, 2015 12:20 PM
    You go girl. Don't let it, get you down. My first question to my primary was: will it kill you & was there a cure. The answers were NO. So I just have been surviving as best I can. My journey started 1978, actually diagnosed 1990. Started Copaxone in 1996. Slow going now, disabilities are increasing MRI doesn't shows any more activity. But shows I am supposed to be doing better. We are now searching in the soft tissue of the brain. Will hear the results in a week.
  • Angela   Oct 12, 2015 7:59 PM
    Thank you for your story, I love to hear about others and there MS stories.
  • Avatar
    marshina  Oct 13, 2015 6:22 PM
    If nothing else, the theory that M.S. attacks people who live way north on any continent is questionable. I often wonder why more women are affected. Most all I've spoken to had mono (the kissing disease) then, within 5 years had M.S. symptoms. Wouldn't it be great if the researchers could identify the triggers. More drugs are on the way!!
  • Avatar
    Ebryant7  Oct 28, 2015 10:17 AM
    Mrs. Sanguinetti,

    I so appreciate and love your story!

    I was diagnosed July 2010 and it has been such a ride some bad but mostly good. Having MS has opened a whole new world for me. It's changed my view on what a sick person looks/acts like. It has made me a fighter, by that I've joined a few committees within our National MS Society, trying to bring awareness to my area/state.

    Thank you so much by putting your voice and face on what MS looks like.