2010 Walk MS undaunted by weather

Published 3:49 pm Monday, May 10, 2010

Lightning, thunder, hail and high winds pummeled Homewood Park on April 24.

Forecasters were grim, reporting tornadoes on the way. Fierce weather didn’t deter 2010 Walk MS supporters including Shelby County resident Diane Dewitt and her grandson. Their indomitable spirits were steadfast.

By necessity, being flexible is a way of life for most multiple sclerosis victims.

Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic, often disabling disease attacking the central nervous system. Symptoms can be mild as numbness of limbs or severe as paralysis or blindness. The disease is thought to be an autoimmune disorder. Its progression is unpredictable and varies with each victim. It is not contagious. Walk MS is one of the signature fund-raising events, raising money for essential services for MS victims, and for research.

At the outset of the Walk MS in Homewood, hundreds of supporters gathered outdoors. A rainstorm hit. The exuberant crowd surged into the Community Center, where many walked the overhead walkway. Those unable to walk gathered in a room where, earlier, breakfast had been served. Determined MS victims weren’t about to be bullied by weather.

Local clubs sported T-shirts in bright colors, lime green and orange, identifying themselves as a team. Many were in wheelchairs or using a walker, sitting at sidelines while supportive loved ones walked for them.

Dewitt’s team was called the Lakeshore Splashers. She told of her inspiration.

“I’ve been with this group about two years,” she said. “I learned what the local MS Society does, local funds going to help MS victims unable to pay utility bills, or needing gas to go to the doctor, or needing money for food. All that remains at the end of the year goes to provide research. This year we raised $10,000.”

The local leader of MS support is Diane Sausen who can be contacted by e-mail at dsausen @charter.net. She keeps the group updated on scheduled events held at Lakeshore Foundation, a non-profit organization promoting independence for persons with physically debilitating conditions. Speakers provide educational topics specific to MS. Medical equipment is loaned for special events, such as the MS Walk. See Lakeshore.org or call 313-7400 for information. For more information on MS, see Nationalmssociety.org.

Gladys Hodge Sherrer can be reached by e–mail at gsherrer@hotmail.com.