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"An ordinary kid." (Stephen Luczak may have multiple sclerosis but that doesn't stop him from enjoying life)

Peter and Rose Anna Luczak of Mission Viejo, California, had ever heard of MS when their eight-year-old, Stephen, developed eye problems and a strange stagger. They learned, fast. In the three years since, Stephen has been in the hospital six times, and, last year, missed eighty days of school.

"Stephen's an ordinary kid," his dad said. "When he's not sick, he wants to ride his bike and hang out." His desire to be like everyone else led him to fib to his schoolmates about his absences.

"He was running out of stories," Mr. Luczak said. "We realized he thought other kids would pick on him, and that was a burden he didn't need."

Mr. Luczak arranged to visit Stephen's fifth-grade class just before he was ready to return last spring. He explained MS to the kids, and passed out booklets from the Society. There was a big "Welciome Back" sign when Stephen returned to school -- and nothing happened to back up his fear of ridicule. "I wish I'd done it a year ago.!" Stephen says now.

Stephen is growing up while fighting battles familiar to adults with MS. He has lost much of his athletic ability -- and fatigue often shortens his day. An at-home tutor, provided by a California state program, helps him keep up with his class, and the family goes together to counseling for emotional support. But on his own, Stephen appears to be developing perspective.

When he was nine, he gave his parents a painting he'd done showing a tulip with a kinded stem, blossoming in the rain. "The flower is me," said Stephen, "and the crook in the stem ins MS. But I can still grow. And the rain coming down is God's blessing."
COPYRIGHT 1993 National Multiple Sclerosis Society
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Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Inside MS
Date:Sep 22, 1993
Previous Article:Childhood MS.
Next Article:The MS Autobiography Book: An Anthology of Autobiographical Prose and Verse Written by Persons Who Have Multiple Sclerosis.

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