Friday, April 4, 2008

MS Walk 2008! Begging for $ Please :)

Spring is a time of growth and renewal. In 600 MS WALK locations through the county, family and friends gather together, all walking to raise money for a cure to multiple sclerosis (MS). Wouldn’t it be wonderful, if this was the year that a cure was found? MS is a disease that tends to strike people in the years they are most active with career and/or family (20’s-50’s). A diagnosis of MS comes out of nowhere and changes your life -- stopping momentum in what should be the best years of your life.

The sun was shining on the spring morning 1993 when I went to the doctor. I really didn’t have time, Glen and I were busy planning our wedding, the Candy store I was managing had just opened and I was training new staff. But my leg had been bothering me for a couple of weeks, and it was getting increasingly numb. I didn’t have a doctor, so I kept putting it off. Glen did and I finally went to his MD. Dr. Cable was an older gentleman, and we chatted about my case and symptoms. He told me that either I had diabetes so bad I should be dead, or I had MS. But he wanted more tests to be sure. Well, I’m not dead, and it turns out that I do have MS.

Little did I know about future, but then who does? Glen and I married that summer with me wearing FLAT shoes and trying not to fall. Over the years there have been some falls, bumps and bruises, things dropped or spilled. There have been days of tears and days of smiles, days of questions, and days of answers. Then you hold a new grandchild! But the whole time you’re holding this wonderful brand new bundle of Life you’re wondering if your hands are going to work, and if you can hold the new baby without your hands failing you. There is nothing like the feeling I get holding a grand baby! It chases away all the fatigue and blues. Grand kids don’t notice if I have to nap when they do, or talk with smaller words, or say the wrong words, because they do it too. Having trouble finding words (both written and spoken) has been a challenge for me over the last few years. Sometimes just a smile and nod is all that I can get out; other days I talk people’s ears off about topics that may (or may not) not match the previous topic of conversation.

So, with the spring coming, I have been busy building my MS Walk Team. This year we are 40 people strong. I have walked in the MS Walk for the last fourteen years, and have organized “Nita’s Friends” for most of those years. Over time, the team’s faces may change, but not the spirit! We walk to help those who can’t. We walk to raise money to help with research, which brings us closer to a cure every day. In the February 17, 2008 issue of Nature (a highly respected scientific research journal), researchers at Stanford University, the University of Connecticut and other institutions report having uncovered hundreds of proteins that are active at different stage of MS, particularly in the active lesions. Many of these proteins have known functions in the body, but a handful of them have no known function and may play a role in triggering an “event”. Researchers have focused on two proteins (using a mouse model), and using existing drugs have blocked their activity, and have demonstrated the ability to improve symptoms. This is real progress, and we are learning more about this disease daily! In addition, there are over 200 new drugs that are currently in clinical trials. The funding for this research comes in part from the National MS Society, much of it from donations to the MS Walk. Step by step, we are getting closer to a cure!

Glen and I will be leading our Team “Nita’s Friends” in the Kennewick MS Walk on April 12th, 2008 in Columbia Park. We are asking for help with donations to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. You can donate to me by checking out my personal page here or you can donate to my team by visiting my team page....Nita's Friends! Remember it is tax deductible donation. We appreciate your support, no amount to small or great.

Please choose to donate, no one choose to have MS!

Thank you, Lenita