Saturday, March 23, 2013

The MS Walk

It is that time of year again, as I am watching the snow fall and I am stuck inside, I'm asking people - you - friends, family, anyone who wants - to contribute to the MS Walk, which raises funds for the National MS Society.  The MS Society then uses these funds for research toward ending MS, toward services for people with MS, and much more.  What many people may not understand is that every donation is important - $5, $10, etc.  It all adds up!

You can sponsor me (and read my story) here:

(then click on "Donate to Beth")

You can also show support by joining our team "May You Dance."  Same link, just click on "Join Beth's Team."  Then you can come walk too, and hopefully by then, the snow will stop.

You can write a check (to the MS Society) - just let me know and I'll send you my address, or you can give me a check or cash...  it all works!

Why, year after year, do a bunch of us continue to participate? Everyone has their own reason.

And for me, every year is different. 

Why donate?  Because people like me are on Ampyra, a drug to help with walking, but it has turned my life upside down, in a good way.  This drug received initial funding partly through the MS Society.  I've been on it for 2.5 years now.

Why donate?  Because Ampyra can help develop leg muscles.  For me, this meant I could qualify for devices called Bioness.  These are cuffs placed under the knee.  Then there are foot sensors that go under the heel.  This combination means that when I land on my heel, the foot sensor triggers something in the cuff, which then triggers the muscles that enable my toes to lift, rather than drag.  These are new this year for me!  Before Ampyra, I could not walk well enough to qualify for them.

Why donate?  Because Bioness devices cost about $5,000 per side.  The MS Society helped me apply for grants to get these devices, and gave me a grant to help buy one of them.  Since they are $5,000 each, the MS Society made it possible for me to continue to improve my walking.  Also new this year!

Why donate?  When I switched jobs, the MS Society helped me navigate through the confusing maze of switching insurance.  It's very complicated because not all insurance plans cover the same things in the same way.  And again, this is new this year! 

As I said, each year is different.

With all the advances I have made because of Ampyra, I've found myself in a strange, confusing place.  I'll probably write about that someday soon.  I'm in a place where I'm much better, where for the first time since I was diagnosed with MS, I actually feel somewhat stable.  And this is just strange.  There's much more to this, but it's a different blog entry.  Stay tuned.

A long time ago at a group, someone said, wouldn't we all be happy if our MS progression could just be stopped, so things didn't get worse?  And I said no.  I wouldn't be happy just to have progression stop.  I wanted to get better.  I still want to continue getting better.

The only reason that will happen is if research continues.  The only way research will continue is if we keep asking for donations.  And the only way research will continue is if people continue to donate.

I told my skiing instructor recently that I could wiggle my toes for the first time this season, and then they finally weren't as cold.  I told him it's such a small thing.  He said the obvious: "Beth, many small things add up to big things."  This is true.  Each year we walk, we ask for donations, and people give donations, ..., it may seem small.  But these small things, down to small donations, add to big things.

2.5 years ago I could walk only 30 feet.  2 years ago it took me an hour to do a lap around the track.  Gradually my time improved.  2 months ago I broke 20 minutes.  Last weekend, when it wasn't snowing, I broke 16 minutes.  Small things lead to big things.

Please be a part of this.


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