Well known kidnapping victim Elizabeth Smart made a trip to the Capital Region to talk about hope. She was at the Women Against MS event Friday afternoon. Erin Vannella has more on her visit.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- "It's hard to see someone you love go through struggles every day, but to be surrounded by other people going through it, it does help you," said Albany resident Susan O'Keefe.
Families and friends of those affected by multiple sclerosis gather Friday over a charity lunch and stories of hope.
"It's extremely important to keep yourself motivated and not to get down, not to get depressed because you can't do things you normally did," said Dianne Santos.
For Dianne Santos, who has lived with MS for 21 years, a sold out crowd shows her she's not alone. But the audience of 400 seeks its strength from one.
Smart said, "I did look back on a lot of terrible experiences, but I also got a look back and see how many people did help me."
Elizabeth Smart survived nine months of life threatening captivity and sexual assault in Utah in 2002. Friday, a week after releasing her first book, she addressed "Women for MS" in Albany.
"We all have experiences and hopefully we reach out to other people around us and help them along," said Smart.
It is possible to find happiness in despair, says Smart, no matter the struggle. And hearing such optimism, Santos and her family says is empowering.
"I have two grown daughters and one grown son and I have eight grandchildren and they keep my going, too," said Santos. "I think I can speak for all of us. She's been an inspiration, she does not give in and I think we all support her in a way, too."