Tuesday, March 3, 2009

MS Walk: It's National Multiple Sclerosis Week!

... And as you are likely aware, I have MS.

Five years ago, I wrote a post that to me only seems to skim the surface of what this has meant to my life. It was most definitely the awakening of the knowledge that my life was never going to be the same as it was. While I'm usually somewhat vocal about having MS, I don't usually go into details of what that means. It can mean that one day I'll be full of energy, and the next day I'll be dragging on the floor. Today I can be walking perfectly fine, but tomorrow I'll be unable to go 500 feet without a break. It can mean that while I appear to be a perfectly healthy and independent thirtysomething, something lurks beneath that has the potential to incapacitate me, for either short periods or for a lifetime.

More than 15 years ago, I had no idea what MS even was. Most people get it confused with Jerry's Kids, or Lou Gherig's Disease, or any one of a number of other diseases... And while it is in most cases unlikely to end someone's life, it IS something that can have devestating effects on the person's life and independence.

I am one of the lucky ones. Yes, I know I have it, which many people are so misdiagnosed as other diseases that they get incorrect and improper treatment for years before it is finally diagnosed. And while yes, I have it, my symptoms have been few and far between since the life-changing semester of my diagnosis. While I am currently relatively symptom-free, this disease has the potential to turn my life upsidown yet again, as it did years ago, to the point where I lost my independence and could hardly even dress myself, let alone get on with the daily aspects of living. But I am one of the lucky ones. While people are slowly becoming aware of what MS is and does through characterizations such as President Bartlett on the West Wing, there are still so many out there who are unaware, and MS has a tendency to strike those in the prime of their lives... The National Multiple Sclerosis Society depends upon donations from people like you to be able to not only spread awareness of this disease, but to help us come closer to a cure! Thanks to donations in the past, there are not only new medications out that can help, but new upcoming treatments that may cure it, including the use of non-embryonic stem cells to try and reset the system!

As some of you may be aware of, Team Wench is going to be participating in the MS Walk on April 19, in Annapolis, Maryland! Team Wench is a group of strong-minded women (and some men!) who both work and play at renaissance festivals, and friends of those who do. Team Wench has been organizing and participating in charity fundraising events for years! This is actually our ninth year in participating in the MS Walk! As in past years, Team Wench also includes several men who know Wenches who are near and dear to their hearts. Several of our local wenches (including myself) have this potentially debilitating disease, and we're determined to stamp it out!

This year marks fifteen years since my diagnosis… And in commemoration of that date, I'd like to raise at least fifteen times what I raised in my first year of walking in the MS Walk! My first year, I rollerbladed the walk through Liberty State Park, and I raised just over $150. This year, fifteen years later, I'd like to raise more than $2250!

As stated in the MD Chapter webpage:
"Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, often disabling disease of the nervous system. Symptoms may be mild, such as numbness in the limbs, or severe paralysis or loss of vision. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40, but the unpredictable physical and emotional effects can be lifelong. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are giving hope to those affected by the disease.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is dedicated to ending the devastating effects of multiple sclerosis."

Every hour someone is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). Please join me in supporting the National MS Society's mission to end the devastating effects of MS. You can support me by making a secure online epledge.

Thank you - together we can make a difference! I want to be able to look at people some day and say "I HAD MS, but not anymore!" I want to know that nobody else will have to go through what it has done to me and so many people I know, or that if it does it won't happen again!

You can donate by credit card on a secure server, directly online!

If you'd like to donate, or if you'd like to join our team, please click here to go to my donations page! Even if you don't live in the area, we have "phantom walkers" who can walk from anywhere in the world, and the fundraising goes directly to the NMSS! If you have any difficulties with the link, there should be one listed at the bottom of this letter.

For more information about this event, please visit the MS Walk in Maryland homepage.

For more information about the National MS Society, please visit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society homepage.

If you would like to make a donation via check instead of online, please make the check out to "NMSS". If you need my address, email me!

My thanks to those of you who have already donated to the cause, and thanks in advance to those of you who want to help those who have MS, and help MDRF's Team Wench make this ninth annual event a good one!!!

Thanks for all your support!

Cyd (Top 50 fundraiser, Sole Supporter, Gold Soles walker, and Gold Glider rollerblader since 1994)

P.S. If you would like more information about the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, how proceeds from the walk MS are used, or the other ways you can get involved in the fight against MS, please visit www.nmss-md.org or call 443-641-1200.


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