My wife Andie has Multiple Sclerosis. MS. The symptoms have been with her for probably 20 years, but it was only diagnosed 3 years ago. The good news is, she has something called Relapsing/Remitting MS. It’s not the seriously degenerative form of the disease that would have her in a wheelchair in 10 years or less. Her form of the disease, treated with a new generation of medication, might be 40 or 50 years before it becomes debilitating. And there is progress being made, particularly in the field of stem cell research.
MS is a neurological disorder in which plaque forms on the nerve cell linings and prevents the electrical current from making the correct connections. You can see how that might be a problem.
Earlier today (Saturday), probably a couple thousand people embarked on a 5K walk from the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena down Bay Street, over to the river, and up Newnan before returning to the Arena. Many, like Andie, have the disease. Some, like her friend Diana, are confined to wheelchairs and rolled the 3.2 miles of the course. The purpose was to raise money for MS research in an effort to find a cure.
For instance, there were the Imperial Stormtroopers who joined us on the walk. They’re firefighters, but they turned out today to support the fight against MS. With orange the signature color of the MS Society, there were folks who had dyed their hair bright orange, and at least one who had done her face and arms as well. The French Foreign Lesion wore berets and drawn-on mustaches … and carried baguettes. And indeed, why not.
It was a very uplifting event. Maybe not on the scale of a major marathon, but for people for whom simply walking can be a challenge, a 5K walk on a bright and sunny Saturday morning seemed particularly appropriate. I was proud to join Andie and the others in showing my support, and getting a little exercise to boot.
Why not come join us next year.