Well known for her dedication and well respected by her colleagues and peers Columbia Missouri born and reared activist, advocate for the disabled, multiple sclerosis suffer, medical marijuana patient and legalization activist, close friend and dear family member now remembered for her tireless efforts on behalf of the community, determination to overcome challenges, and indomitable spirit of goodwill.
Welliver, 59, passed away Tuesday August 9 at Columbia’s University Hospital after slipping into a comma some six weeks prior. Surrounded by her friends and family, as she was in life, Christy finally succumbed to an undisclosed illness.
Wheelchair bound since 1985 the daughter of Warren D Welliver, former Missouri Supreme Court justice and State Senator, never let disability stand in the way of her helping others as an outspoken community activist and native of Columbia. From her work with the Mid-Missouri chapter of the ACLU to her co-founding of PedNet Coalition of Columbia, a group that advocates for better facilities for walking, biking, and wheeling for citizens of all ability, Welliver worked tirelessly to improve the lives of everyone in her community.
Danna Harper, long-time friend and co-worker, describes Welliver as the “go-to person” during her 19 years as a volunteer at the University Hospital’s Multiple Sclerosis Institute. “If someone had a hard time dealing with (multiple sclerosis), she could handle it and create a more positive outlook,” said Harper. “She was always willing to do news interviews and take on the cause head-on. Because she had such a positive outlook about her (MS), she was the perfect role model and spokesperson.”
Chip Cooper, co-founder and first president of PedNet with Welliver alongside as vice president, recalls, “When we met, I told her that me and some people were putting together an effort to create a much more integrated trail network; she loved the idea and wanted to participate in it.”
Ian Thomas, league certified instructor and Executive Director of PedNet, remembers, “She attends almost every community event, she knows almost everybody in the community, and her personality inspires love and respect from almost everyone. The most amazing thing about Christy is that none of this changed in the slightest (because) of her disability – even though multiple sclerosis imposes enormous physical and psychological challenges on its victims. Through everything, Christy maintained dignity, humor, and compassion.”
Dan Viets, Missouri Defense Attorney and State Coordinator for Missouri NORML, memorializes, “She was very active in the effort to a pass the ordinance on medical marijuana here in Columbia in 2004 and she has remained very active on issue since.” Going on to write “Christy had discovered, as many thousands know, that marijuana is indeed a very helpful treatment for the symptoms of MS and she wanted everyone to know it is an important part of her life. She was a bright, beautiful, wonderful woman and it was our good fortune to know her.”
Watching Mark Pedersen of Cannabis Patient Network‘s interview with Christy Welliver, recorded in the spring 2011 Missouri NORML Conference, just a few months prior to her passing you see the enthusiasm, passion, dedication, selflessness, wisdom and compassion that endeared her to so many people as she shares her story as a medical marijuana patient and activist working to legalize cannabis.
Reading the testimonials on PedNet.org’s “Remembering Christy” web page you can see the tremendously positive impact she had on the many people she knew and how that had an effect on so many people she did not know through her ceaseless efforts to improve the quality of life all.
If you have any doubts about your ability to make a difference simply look to Christy Welliver’s life, cut short as it was, is a testimony to the power of the human spirit and a person’s ability to overcome adversity and selflessly effect a positive change in the world around them.
Mark Pedersen of Cannabis Patient Network interviews Christy Welliver.
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- Brief Psychotherapy Helps Multiple Sclerosis Patients with Insomnia and Depression (ahrq.gov)
- Multiple Sclerosis Resources (everydayhealth.com)
- How Is Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosed? (everydayhealth.com)
- What Is Multiple Sclerosis? (everydayhealth.com)
- Hemp Warrior: Marijuana Activist Dana Beal Had a Heart Attack, Died, Came Back, and Beat His Pot Rap (alternet.org)