Cathy Chester | An Empowered Spirit

Hurricane Sandy: A List of Ways to Help Yourself and Others (Empower Yourself!)

Hurricane Sandy and Preparing For Disaster“We shall draw from the heart of suffering itself the means of inspiration and survival.” ~Winston Churchill

As I write this post I feel blessed to have escaped the wrath of Hurricane Sandy.  So much damage interrupted so many lives in such a short amount of time. We were blessed because we only lost power and cell service.

We were cold, tired and worried.  We were as prepared as possible with duct tape neatly taped across our windows and outdoor furniture carried into our garage.  We braced ourselves for the worst, kept our conversation flowing for hours and waited.  We waited and waited and waited.

Our tiny battery operated radio kept us as informed as possible on the path and devastation of the storm.  We were grateful for the radio, and talked about how our parents and grandparents must have sat around a radio just like we were while hanging onto every word the announcer said during a crisis.

When the winds finally died down and morning eventually came, we realized the threat of the hurricane was over. We were all fine, and our home remained intact.

Two days later when our power was restored we were grateful.

Unfortunately not everyone was as blessed as we were.  Many people in our town continue to have no electricity.  Yet they also are fine with little to no damage to themselves or their homes.

Ocean in Better Weather Last night when I returned home I turned on the television and, for the first time, saw the frightening images of the devastation around New Jersey and New York.  Homes and lives were lost.  People were stranded.

In the City of Hoboken, The National Guard was on the scene rescuing residents from flooded apartments. Seaside Height’s famous Ferris Wheel (that stood for 99 years) was destroyed, seemingly sinking into the ocean.

The subway system and tunnels around Manhattan were flooded, leaving the city virtually at a standstill. Entire towns were lying under water and residents had to run, climb and swim to safety.

There is a massive shortage of gasoline; I passed one Lukoil station where there were at least one hundred cars waiting to receive a rationed amount of gas.

Another angry act of Mother Nature, a year after Hurricane Irene, has come and gone, leaving behind its ugly path of destruction once again.

Its presence has reawakened in us the knowledge that weather fronts are quickly changing, and we need to become more aware of how to prepare ourselves better for this change.

We also need to realize that, more than ever, life is as fleeting as the storms that come and go. This has been another wake up call to live each day to the fullest.

Let’s all take good care of our loved ones and ourselves.  Be kind and generous to those around you whenever you can.  Reach out to those in need and try to help those who cannot help themselves.

As someone with Multiple Sclerosis I know what it’s like to live with a disability.  Like the hurricane that crossed our path, MS can come unexpectedly, at rapid speed, and leave its devastation behind in our bodies at any given moment.  Its wrath affects us in a myriad of ways, and knows no bounds.

As someone over the age of 50 it is even more important to always be prepared, as best as I can, to deal with the ravages MS can bring, and the inevitable stress our bodies endure when preparing for another natural disaster.

I’ve learned that knowledge IS power.  Reliable information is crucial. EMPOWERing ourselves is paramount. .

Recently I learned about a wonderful website that offers quality information about MS.  I’d like to share it with you.  It is Healthline (Connect to Better Health) and offers ways to learn about the basics of MS, finding medical treatments from traditional to alternative, and provides tools to track and manage your MS.  They have an active Facebook page to help you stay connected and up-to-date with a large community of other Facebook fans.  Check it out!

I hope all of you affected by Hurricane Sandy are safe and warm.  I will continue to keep you all in my prayers.


The Red Cross – All donations will provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance to those affected by the storm. •The New York Blood Center is urging people to donate blood for those in the New York/New Jersey area. To donate, call 800-933-2566 or visit The NY Blood Center.

The Salvation Army – The Salvation Army has dozens of mobile feeding units and shelters along the East Coast that are working to serve thousands in the most heavily hit areas.

Feeding America has thousands of pounds of emergency food, water and supplies in the disaster zone that it is working to distribute to the storm’s victims.

AmeriCares is providing medicine and other supplies to people affected by Hurricane Sandy.

World Vision is distributing flood clean-up kits, personal hygiene items and emergency food kits to people hit by the hurricane.

Save the Children Save the Children is also working to provide relief to families and their children.

•Samaritan’s Purse is asking for volunteers to help storm victims.

The United Way Hurricane Sandy Recovery Fund was established to address the near-term and long-term recovery needs of individuals, families and communities along the Eastern Seaboard that were impacted by Hurricane Sandy’s devastation.

•UJA Federation of New York is set up to receive donations and “are mobilizing the resources of our community to offer assistance — and rebuild for the future.”

(Thank you to ABC News Online for their list of resources.)

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