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Editorial: Your personal stories of hardship change lives

This is a big shout out to the people who share their most personal stories with us, and by extension, the people of the Perham area. Last week Mary Chase and Colleen Sazama came into our office and talked about their Multiple Sclerosis and the havoc it has had on their bodies and their lives. They shared the ups, the downs, the tears, the triumphs. They didn't have to, and it's probably not always easy. But when people like these ladies take their physical weakness and turn them into personal strength ... enough strength to put the most vulnerable side of themselves out there for all to see ... it has the ability to change somebody's life. They may never understand the impact of their stories because people don't always feel comfortable reaching out to a stranger and saying, "Your story changed me", but it happens all the time.

Right here in Perham there are people who are new sufferers to ailments and disease—both mental and physical—and it can surely be a lonely feeling. When people in our own community choose to share their very personal stories like this, that lonely, struggling person at home can possibly read these stories and know that they are not all alone on an island of pain. They can truly understand that while nobody can take away anybody else's ailments, there is power in numbers. There are shoulders to lean on and strong sources of experience and information that can at least help.

These two ladies may be incredible in our book, but they're not the only ones. So many of you have chosen to share your struggles with us. Cancer. Mental health. Hospice. Substance abuse. Multiple Sclerosis. Loss. Autism. Internal organ failures and diseases of every kind ... we are certainly all flawed human beings with a plethora of struggles that have either landed or could land at our doorstep at anytime. And while we should not walk around afraid of life, we can know that if something does happen, there are people right here in this town who have probably gone through it and are now strong enough to help. They're strong because they've weathered some storms and came out the other side with the willingness to share some of that strength. These people are local heros who should be commended. Thank you for trusting us with the story of your lives and helping us make a difference.

Paula Quam

Paula Quam is the editor for Forum Communications Co. newspapers in Detroit Lakes and Perham, both in Minnesota.

(218) 844-1466