Kym Sellers is a fighter whose greatest strength is her voice.
She has used it to be a light and to lead a foundation geared to educate, inform and bring awareness to those dealing with multiple sclerosis.
Sellers, who is bound to a wheelchair but has the ability to move her neck and speak, said multiple sclerosis picked the right champion to have a bout with, because life prepared her for the fight.
The disease commonly known as M.S. is a degenerative inflammatory disease causing physical, mental and at times psychiatric problems
“I’m glad it was me," Sellers said. “True enough, I would love to run again. I would love to jump again. But I’m here. I’m living. I’ll continue to be strong and encourage others to be strong.”
She was diagnosed with the illness in 1992 and started the Kym Sellers Foundation in 2000 as a direct result of her diagnosis. The foundation provides support for individuals with multiple sclerosis in Northeast Ohio, and offers educational programs, individual and group support and resources for therapies and research, according to its website.
Sellers said it is a way to let people know that they are not in the fight alone.
On Saturday, the foundation will celebrate its 17th Annual Gala Benefit For Multiple Sclerosis at the Intercontinental Hotel & Conference Center. A silent auction will be held and Jennifer Holliday, two-time Grammy – and Tony Award-winning singer and actress best known for her 1982 role as Effie in “Dreamgirls,” is scheduled to perform live entertainment at the event. Holliday also suffers from multiple sclerosis., according to news reports.
A video of other people battling multiple sclerosis will also be shown during the gala.
"One thing you can count on for sure, is that this illness will change things for you," Sellers said. "It has no face. It doesn't know race. It doesn't know where you live. It doesn't care what kind of car you drive. It doesn't discriminate, and so, knowing that we're trying to tackle it."
A mother for four, Sellers affectionately calls the foundation her baby and is in awe how long it has been a part of Cleveland. It was supposed to be a one-time event years ago, but Sellers realized it was needed, it could not stop and is grateful for the relationship she has established over the years.
“I would like people to understand why this is so important," she said. "My story can be your story. The work we do today could save your loved one's life."
Tickets to the gala can be purchased at the door or by telephone at (216) 371-3496. Donations can be made on the foundation’s at www.thekymsellersfoundation.org or mailed to The Kym Sellers Foundation, Reserve Square, East 12th Street, Suite 101, Cleveland, OH 44114