Priya Sankaran is a radio reporter with CBC News Toronto; filing stories for local newscasts heard on CBC Radio One's top rated current affairs programs "Metro Morning" and "Here and Now". She's called Toronto home since attending Ryerson University's Radio and Television arts program. In 2008 Priya broke the story of Doda, an opiate drug truck drivers in the GTA's Indo-Canadian community were struggling to quit. In 2009 she told the stories of the region's Tamil community protesting against the civil war in Sri Lanka. This essay is a companion piece to her radio documentary, Multiple Sclerosis: A White Man's Disease. It first aired in February on CBC Radio One's national weekend current affairs program "The Sunday Edition."
A few days before I was to fly back to Canada a small ad in one of the morning newspapers caught my eye. The words Multiple Sclerosis Society of Chennai jumped out at me. Apparently there was a local chapter and it was throwing a fundraiser. The ad took me by surprise. There were others like me dealing with the disease. And they lived in a vitamin D rich country like India. Everything I had read about MS suggested it was a chronic condition which is much more pervasive in temperate climates like Canada, the U.S., Scotland, England
I was 33 years old and working the local news beat with the CBC's supper hour news cast when the universe hurled a wicked curve ball my way. On the Tuesday morning after the Canada Day holiday, I tripped and fell in the newsroom, scraping my knee. Forty-eight hours later I was admitted to Emergency in a Toronto hospital. And I learned that something was terribly wrong with my health. In the days and weeks following my diagnosis non-white friends, even my childhood pediatrician who was Indo-Canadian, wondered how it was I'd come down with what many considered to be a "White Man's Disease." By the end of the summer the initial diagnosis was confirmed by the neurologist who would become my MS doctor at St. Michael's Hospital.
05/16/2013 02:52 EDT
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