Walk raises awareness, funds for disease
By ELIZABETH GOLDEN
The second annual Walk MS brought approximately 120 people Saturday to Aubel-Bickle Park. Multiple Sclerosis, a disease that attacks the central nervous system, affects 56 people in Ellis County.
The event was hosted by a group of Leadership 310 students from Fort Hays State University and the MS society.
"We don't know what causes MS, and we certainly don't have a cure," said Rep. Sue Boldra, R-Hays, whose daughter is living with the disease. "Many of us have relatives, friends or family members who have been victimized by the disease."
Everyone walks for a reason.
"I walk for my sister," said Carlotta McDermott, Colby. "It's a family thing. My 93-year-old dad is here supporting the cause."
The 12-person group wore a variety of colored shirts with "m&m" written on them.
"We all have different colored shirts because MS affects everyone differently, and everyone has different symptoms," McDermott said.
It was McDermott's 15th walk.
"After my sister was diagnosed 15 years ago, the usual questions came to mind," she said. " 'Why? How come?' Then you just go on and do what you can to make her life as normal as possible.
Marian Corke, McDermott's sister from Great Bend, said she struggled immensely when diagnosed with MS.
"Then I went on to, 'Why me? This isn't right,' " Corke said. "I had a good job; everything was going well. I went to the doctor because I was dizzy. After being diagnosed, you quit working, driving, walking, and just do what you can do."
Chelsea Anderson, Boldra's daughter and MS Society board member, had similar thoughts when she was diagnosed.
"It started with optic neuritis," Anderson said. "I had gone to an eye doctor who said the worst we were looking at was MS. That was a couple months before my actual diagnosis, so I was already prepared for the possibility."
Anderson officially was diagnosed in 2010.
"The symptoms vary person to person," she said. "For me, it's pain and then other problems with my vision, various numbness and tingling in extremities."
For Corke, her mobility is affected.
"I'm lucky I haven't gotten to that stage," Anderson said. "Hopefully I never will."
Anderson said her emotions and thoughts were hard to put into words.
"Shock is probably the best way to put it," she said. "I don't wish this disease on anyone."
Anderson started getting involved in the MS Society and MS Walks in 2008 because her college roommate's mother was living with MS.
Sutton Sanders, a senior and a member of the Leadership team, was extremely happy with the turnout.
"It's pretty amazing," she said. "It's inspiring to see people bring their children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. I'm happy Kansas wasn't a jerk and gave us this beautiful weather."