There are so many great things about living in Colorado—the people, the climate, the fun activities, the number of large, friendly dogs. I’m sure you can add your own favorites to the list. But one serious consequence of living here is that we have one of the highest rates of multiple sclerosis (MS) in the country.
MS affects the central nervous system by destroying the fatty covering, or myelin sheath, on the nerves. This disrupts the flow of information from the brain to the body, much as an electrical wire shorts out without its protective covering. Among other things, MS can cause problems with vision, balance, speech, memory, and concentration, wreaking havoc on the day-to-day functions most of us take for granted. The cause of MS is unknown, though there might be an autoimmune factor, and there is no cure. The disease also has a geographical distribution—the number of cases increases farther north and south of the equator.
My husband and I have a very good friend who was diagnosed with MS in his twenties, and we make regular contributions to the MS Society with him in mind. But I’ve always wanted to do the walk. So I signed up this year and joined the crowd at Edora Park on Saturday morning. The park was filled with music and bright orange balloons, Perkins provided breakfast treats, and Animal House shelter representatives were in attendance with some very sweet adoptable dogs.
After a few speakers inspired and motivated us even further, it was time to walk. Many participants had dogs on leashes and kids in strollers or wagons, and they walked and chatted with their families and their teams. I wanted to take my time and socialize, but I was on a mission: to finish fast so I could make it to the PSD district track meet in time to watch my son compete. (I swear, there are not enough weekends in the month of May.)
The weather could not have been lovelier, especially considering all the cold, windy mornings we’ve had this spring. I was grateful for that, but I was more grateful for the simple act of walking. Because of the devastating neurological effects, many people with MS find themselves unable to walk to their mailbox or down a supermarket aisle.
The Fort Collins MS Walk had 48 teams and 514 participants, and the current fundraising total stands at $79,660.22. I accounted for only a small part of that, but I want to thank everyone who pledged money for my walk. For anyone interested in MS rides, hikes, or other fundraising opportunities, please visit the MS website.
This was my first walk, but it won’t be my last. And next time, I’ll plan to stick around for the post-walk chair massage.