More than 1,500 People Live with Multiple Sclerosis in our Community
This Sunday’s MS Walk supports groundbreaking reseach to find a cure and also helps fund local programs and services to support MS patients and their families
Are you lacing up your shoes to join in the annual MS Walk this Sunday, April 29? It’s a fundraiser dear to my heart. The walk is the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada’s biggest fundraising activity. Last year $330,000 was raised in Ottawa and this year the goal is to raise even more.
This financial support can make all the difference in the world for local families.
“Not only will the money raised through the walk bring us that much closer to a cure for MS but it will also help to fund local programs and services for the more than 1,500 people living with MS in our community, programs like the funding of much needed mobility equipment,” says Mark Lloyd, Chair of the MS Walk Committee.
I know what that means.
Through my mother’s long journey with multiple sclerosis, the MS Society was always there – every step of the way – to provide support and equipment that could and did transform her quality of life. For years she had a three-wheeled scooter that allowed her to be mobile in her home and the community.
She lived large.
She was my hero.
Although she is gone now, there are other relatives – a cousin my age and an uncle (my mother’s brother) – who also have this disease of the central nervous system.
The most common neurological disease of young adults in Canada, MS often hits people in those early, all-important child-rearing years. My mother was in her early 20s. My brother was a toddler. I arrived six years later.
That’s why Tarah Hodgkinson’s story hits close to home. Her mom was also diagnosed before she was born.
“My mom was not able to participate in our childhood in the same manner as other parents,” says Hodgkinson, who recently moved to Ottawa after completing a Masters Degree at Queens. “Life was quite difficult at times.” Still, she point out, “Despite the years of watching the debilitating effects of MS on my mother, I continue to believe she is the most encouraging and powerful woman I know.”
Tarah is entertainment coordinator for this year’s Ottawa walk, which takes place from the Jean Talon Building, 170 Tunney’s Pasture Driveway. Registration starts at 8 a.m., followed by entertainment and opening ceremonies, with walkers heading out at 10 a.m.
There are 2.5 kilometre, 5 kilometre and 7 kilometre accessible routes and the walk will take place along the Ottawa River Parkway.
If you can’t walk, your donation would nonetheless be much appreciated. For details, visit mswalks.ca or mssociety.ca/ottawa or call 613-728-1583.