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The walk to fight Multiple Sclerosis brings the community together

From Fatigue to numbness, tingling, weakness, vision loss, dizziness, and vertigo, the list of symptoms seems to go on and on. MS symptoms vary, and are sometimes unpredictable. No two people have the same symptoms and they can change from time to time.

One of the biggest complaints of MS is fatigue. According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, around 80% of those diagnosed with the condition will experience fatigue at some point during the course of the disease. MS can be triggered at all times of the day and night and can come on suddenly. Felt during the day, even with sleep the night before, over time it worsens making your days more difficult as the symptoms come on more frequently.

“I have MS, but MS doesn’t have me”, says, Camille Fiala, a MS survivor

Michelle Romeo, from Illinois, explains the everyday struggle she deals with. “I haven’t been able to drive and had to go on SSDI (Social Security disability) about four (4) years ago. I lost a lot of my freedom and independence. I have issues with my knees buckling, my hands always hurt, I walk with a cane and boot most days, and sleep? What is that?” She jokingly said.

Not being able to retain your independence is a big issue among those suffering from MS. For Michelle, she can’t drive because of the weakness in her knees and the fact that she has random dizziness which makes it unsafe for her to drive.

What she does to help combat the symptoms isn’t much different from what others are doing but do they really help? “Everybody is not the same, each individual is different”, Michelle says. As for her symptoms and situation, she says, “my leg weakness has improved since I started Tysabri Infusions. As far as my sleep, I have tried different meds and combinations of meds and some work for a little while, but it seems that eventually I end up sleepless.”

There are several ways you can fight MS, which includes conserving your energy, staying cool (because heat brings on the symptoms), therapy, regulating your sleep, but one of the best ways to fight off MS symptoms is exercise. According to the Cleveland Clinic, regular physical activity can help fight fatigue related to MS and sticking to a consistent exercise program can help with endurance, balance, weight loss, and general well being.

To help fight MS, find a cure, and support and raise funds to enable the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to continue their mission, the organization holds walks in communities throughout the U.S. every year. On Saturday April 8, 2017, that happened in our community. The local Delaware chapter held its first walk this season at Dravo Park, along the beautiful Wilmington waterfront.

Just ask Camille Fiala, from New Castle, who was walking at the event. She said, “I’m walking because I want to make a difference and raise money for MS so we can find a cure”. She also said that “every day depends on the weather pressure of that day. I get real tired real easy. I also have some memory issues sometimes.”

It’s 8 A.M. on a cold morning and vendors are beginning to finalize their set up at Dravo Park. From face paintings to energized foods and drinks such as bananas, fruits, and juices, to some of the simple foods like hot dogs on the grill, participants began standing in line to register for the walk.

I couldn’t help but notice this awesome “help find a cure for MS” car that caught my attention with its colorful body and awesome graphics to bring awareness and support to the organization. Yes, it was all there, including friendly faces and casual conversations as if everyone knew each other.

Finally, conversations are interrupted by the announcer. With a few remarks and an explanation of the route, the National Anthem is sung and the 5K event begins. Did I mention it was a walk or run event? All along the route, most of the people who are walking are having friendly conversations that seem to never end. From moms and dads, to those with MS and their children, to grand-kids, and even pets were among the hundreds who showed up to participate in the event. Everyone just showed up for a good cause – to support those with MS.

The event brings those suffering together to support for each other, and to support the organization’s mission. Looking for fun? Camille says, “Never give up and stay positive. I know it might be hard and sometimes some family members think its all in our head or we are faking it.” That is not the case, she says. “MS people need the support of our friends and family, I have an MS phase, I have MS but MS doesn’t have me.”

Want to support a good cause? Then what are you waiting for? There are several more walks and events coming up till the end of summer, visit the MS website’s event page to learn how you can support the mission to find a cure for MS.

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