Cathy Tolk, a multiple sclerosis (MS) patient and a motivational speaker, has opened a website that features her weekly articles, video blogs or vlogs, inspirational messages, and mentions of two published books.
Tolk, who lives in Connecticut, was diagnosed with MS in 1995 after years of bringing joy to people around her, visiting with terminally ill children in hospitals and being part of a Meals on Wheels program.
After her diagnosis, Tolk lost much of her motor function. But she made it her goal to keep giving back to the community.
She also started writing. With the help of speech-to-text technology, Tolk was able to record and share her inspirational thoughts regarding perseverance, hope, and the little things in life that go unnoticed.
Tolk believes that life is what you make of it, and that while 10 percent of life is circumstance, the remaining 90 percent is attitude and how you deal with what you’re given. While no one has full control over the circumstances and cards life deals you, each of us can decide how we react and respond.
“No matter how long or short my encounter is with anyone, when we part, we will both be better people for having met,” she writes on a webpage.
According to Tolk, she makes a conscious decision every day to never be a victim in her life.
Facing her diagnosis head on, Tolk kept up with undertakings that could inspire others with similar disabilities. Over the years, she has traveled across the U.S. as a motivational speaker. She also works as a podcast host for Biogen, speaking with MS patients about current and potential future treatments.
“I, as well as others, have benefited from the positivity of Cathy’s speeches and texts,” Pamela Smith, program coordinator at Biogen, said in a press release. “No matter the circumstance, she always sees silver lining in the dark cloud and the rainbow at the end of the storm.”
Tolk also worked as a wellness practitioner at the Tolk Wellness Center in Simsbury, near her Avon home. The center is co-run by her husband, L. Andrew Tolk, and one of the couple’s four sons, David Tolk, both licensed chiropractors.
Among many awards, Tolk was honored by the American Red Cross, receiving its True Life Hero Award, and was named Volunteer of the Year by Hartford Hospital for the kindnesses she with her dog Hollywood extended to patients. She was also recognized on ESPN for her motivational speeches on behalf of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.