Update from Denise

May 9, 2016

Dear friends,

With the spring legislative session now well underway, I am pausing to think about my much-cherished seat in the House and the reasons why I am not able to physically occupy it at this time.

As many of you know, I was recently diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). This occurred after I had a severe MS attack, and it took a while for the information to really settle in. I am now grappling with a “new normal” that is full of challenges–pain, reduced mobility, and a host of medications I’m required to take–as well as opportunities to reflect on what living with a condition like this means.

May happens to be MS Awareness Month. It is amazing what a person learns about an illness when it is their first-hand experience. So far, I have learned that one in every 1,000 people has MS. It disproportionately affects women, and has a higher rate in Canada than in any other country.

It is also amazing how much we don’t know about MS. Despite the impressive medical research being done on this disease, the search for what causes and cures it is ongoing.

I want to extend my sincere gratitude to all those who have sent me their kind words and thoughts over the past few months. The road ahead will not be easy, but it is made easier by the solidarity of my Caucus colleagues and NDP members across the province.

Please know that my constituency office is running at full capacity, and I want to thank my dedicated staff for keeping me well informed and for their work with the people of Chester-St. Margarets on my behalf. I am looking forward to a recovery that will enable me to fully resume my work as an MLA and as Deputy House Leader.

With you always in spirit,

Denise Peterson-Rafuse
MLA, Chester-St. Margarets
NSNDP Deputy House Leader