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Coming out to readers of my car magazine, input requested

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  • Coming out to readers of my car magazine, input requested

    Iíve made the decision to officially come out with my MS to readers of Nissan Sport, the car magazine I edit and co-own. The issue will be a landmark one for the magazine as we celebrate Nissanís 50th anniversary in the United States. It will easily be our most read and most discussed issue in our two-year history, reaching over 25,000 people worldwide. Iíve written a draft of the column and would appreciate your input. I only have one chance to get this right. Thanks in advance for the help.

    Enjoying a dream job with a car magazine Ö and fighting a nightmare of a disease robbing my ability to drive

    Trying to fall asleep at night, Iíve written this column dozens, probably hundreds of times in my head over the past couple years. How do I tell readers, some of whom Iíve known since the earliest days as editor-in-chief of Sport Z Magazine, that I need their help in fighting an incurable disease. Three years ago at age 37 I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a neurological disease where the insulation protecting the nerve fibers is slowly being destroyed. (Think electrical wiring in a car that is being stripped bare or, worse, totally cut.) The result, you can imagine, can be devastating. Almost half a million suffer from MS in the United States aloneó2.5 million worldwideóand every hour someone new is diagnosed in this country.

    To slow the disease down, I take a daily shot that is about 30 percent effective, rotating between my legs, hips, arms, and stomach. There are no miracle cures. Fortunately for me, at the time of this writing, my symptoms arenít too bad. Iím pretty numb from the chest down, I go blind when I get hot, and weakness in my legs prevents me from walking long distances without the help of a cane or trekking poles. For now I can still drive, but with fuzzy feet, potentially sketchy eyesight (forget about wearing a helmet because of the resulting heat), and a creeping numbness that has moved into my hands, my future behind the wheel is in question. But the potential need for taxi rides is not why Iím asking for your assistance.

    In addition to being the managing editor and co-owner of Nissan Sport, I also run, a nonprofit website I set up to help people stay active with MS physically, intellectually, and socially. Using my experiences from the magazine, I objectively test and rate gear that can help someone deal better with the incurable disease. I started a forum on the website (generously built and maintained by Jeremy Blackwell of to help fellow MSers connect. Iíve also included exercise advice, travel tips, and more. Since its launch, ActiveMSers has received lots of coverage in print and on radioóin fact it was even featured in a half-page ad for Infiniti in The Wall Street Journal (which you can see online at the website). But I need word of to spread farther, and with the help of a Nissan Sport army of over 20,000 readers, Iím optimistic my can-do message can reach across the United States, Canada, and even the world.

    Visit when you get a chance. Heck, post in the forum and say hi. Tell those you know who have MS about the site. Enlighten your friends, your colleagues at work, your forum buddies. While ActiveMSers is not set up to handle tax-deductible donations at this time (hey, I have a magazine to run, the 401c3 will have to come later when I have more time and volunteers), consider donating to MS charities such as the Jimmy Heuga Center ( or participating in your local annual MS walk or MS bike ride put on by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society ( Tell them ActiveMSers sent you.

    Iíd also like to encourage, even challenge, Nissan to introduce the first factory-built handicapped-accessible van for distribution in the US. If I end up in a chair, I really, really donít want to be seen in a modified Chevy Astro van or, gulp, a Honda Element. I want only a Nissan. The Nissan Caravan Personal Chair Cab (shown) and Clipper already exist. Customized by Autech, the Caravan ďlifecare vehicleĒ has been in circulation in Japan since 2001. It and/or the Clipper can be built here as part of the light commercial vehicle expansion of 2010 and the result would be a boon to the 1.6 million people in wheelchairs who suffer everything from MS to stokes, from spinal injuries to war wounds.

    Oh, and there are two more things I request. One, donít feel sorry for me. Heck, Iím the one working at a cool car magazine, not you. And two, donít even think about parking in a handicapped space ďjust to run in for a sec.Ē It really pisses off the folks who desperately need the spot. Trust me, youíd much prefer to walk a little farther than to walk (or roll) in the shoes of someone with a blue placard hanging from the rearview mirror.
    Dave Bexfield

  • #2
    this is an edit of your article

    You mention helmet, people usually don't wear helmets in cars, rethink this.

    "Since its launch, ActiveMSers has received lots.."
    change to a lot...

    Don't slam Honda, they may make a vehicle someday as well, and Honda drivers (me) might get offended.

    Other than those, good work. I do have credentials for editing too!



    • #3
      your article

      Dave, wonderful article...esp like .."dont feel sorry for me."



      • #4
        Thanks skyewriter and CathyH. I probably should have been more clear about the audience. They are Nissan diehard enthusiasts. There is a friendly rivalry between Honda and Nissan owners, so for my audience, they'll laugh at the dig. So please don't take any offense-- I've owned Hondas in the past, and Nissan owners know that they make pretty darn good cars. But we poke fun at them anyway.

        As for helmets, many of our readers take their cars on to race tracks. Helmets are mandatory for the track.

        BTW, thanks also to Vickie for catching that typo!
        Dave Bexfield


        • #5
          looks good to me

          I like what you did with the article. A little info, not too much, and the direction you took it was right on. Hope it is received well!


          • #6
            perfect to me

            dave - your article is perfect to me .. thanks for being a champion for us ... agserra1



            • #7
              I'm so happy I convinced my best friend to buy a Niassan Pathfinder - she loves it and I just thought I liked it - now I LOVE IT! Thanks for being just a great advocate and representative for us MSers!! Keep trekkin!

              BTW, I'm a diehard Jeep Wrangler fanatic and understand the love some of us have for our vehicles.. I'm enjoying it while I can still drive a standard - but my partner is a diehard Nissan and has only bought Nissans for a couple of cars now. I might just have to consider it whenever I have to go automatic!!!


              • #8
                Great article. Thinking about the possibility of not driving is always one thing I think of too...but lately my mind has been wandering to "if I get in a wreck while driving...what kind of car would be the best to wreck." Sorry...guess that isn't a good thought, but anyhow, I enjoyed what you wrote!
                fides quaerens intellectum


                • #9
                  Bravo!! you wrote a great piece. tell us how you feld doing this. shouldn't been easy, as writing it down, often causes another time being confronted with it.

                  execpt for the choice of car brand (.. lol....this can be fun telling you *grin*) I applause you.

                  I've been keeping a blog here in Holland and noticed the nice comments i get when sometimes mentioning that its not that your life with MS. hope you get loads of nice comments!



                  • #10
                    Thank you for the courage to write this. Excellent.