What do you do to get away and relax?

I don’t ever have to get away, I am away, out here in the country, where it’s quiet and peaceful. I’m away from all the madness and mayhem that goes on in the world today. I don’t watch the news, the weather, and I’m completely out of touch with all the negative things in the world today. One of my neighbors still hangs his clothes out on a clothesline.

Kenneth Tankersley’s approach and attitude in living with MS, with which he was diagnosed in 2000 at age 40, is straightforwa-
rd: “I won’t let it beat me.” He relies on his strong faith and continues to help and uplift others despite his own physical challenges. He carves walking sticks and has donated many to the Center over the years for use by other patients.

How did your diagnosis change your life?

MS has changed the way I do things over the years. But to begin with there was no change. I kept working two jobs until 2012.

When you have an especially challenging day with MS, what are the things that help you the most?

God is first and foremost in my life all day, every day. That is the source of my help.

What is your key to living successfully with MS?

The keys to living with MS are different for each person. You have to have a positive attitude, determination, and no intention of losing the fight. I’ve got a wheelchair in the foyer here, but I ain’t getting in it. Some days I can hardly walk, but I force myself to keep going and not quit. This disease will not beat me.

What is your No. 1 piece of advice to anyone finding out they have MS?

Don’t ever give up. Whether you give up or keep fighting is your choice. You need God, a good doctor, family, and friends. And you need them in that order.

What do you think is special and unique about the MS Center of Atlanta?

The people at the MS Center of Atlanta are very special and devoted individuals, the staff at MS-Rx downstairs are no exception. I don’t think there could be a better support system anywhere in the world. I would name them all but I know space is limited. Everyone there that knows me knows I’m talking about them, and I love each and every one of them.

Please share a little about your beautiful carving work.

I’ve made more than 100 walking sticks in the last 17 years. The staff gave them to patients who wanted one. I just wanted to do something to help somebody else be able to walk better.