While this week is National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Week, an event is planned locally next month to raise funds for fighting the disease.
With the support of Leadership Bell County, there will be a MS walk/5K run at the Middlesboro High School track on April 20.
Registration will begin at 9 a.m. The walk/5K run will begin at 10 a.m.
Ashley Cambron, daughter of Nina Shoemaker, will serve as the chair for the event. There are several sponsors including, Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine, Walmart, Middlesboro ARH, Superior Van and Mobility and many others.
The goal is to raise $11,000, with 78 percent of the money going back to the community in the form of research and education and the other 22 percent going toward administration.
“It’s about awareness,” said Shoemaker of the planned event. “I am excited we are having the walk in this area. It’s about raising money for the cause.”
“I think it’s great the walk is occurring in Middlesboro,” said Teri Moore, who has also been diagnosed with MS. “It’s been a long time coming.”
Shoemaker said the support from local residents helped bring the event to Bell County.
The walk/5K run is a part of the MS Society’s Kentucky/Southeast Indiana chapter.
“Having that connection with people is really important,” said Moore. “The small victories help create bigger victories.”
In addition to the MS walk, a MS support group meets the second Tuesday of each month at the Middlesboro ARH classroom. For more information on the support group, call Shoemaker at 606-499-1987.
For more information on the MS Society Kentucky/Southeast Indiana Chapter, visit www.walkmsky.org or call 859-294-7060.
Earlier reports state more than 116 people in Bell County and surrounding areas are affected by MS.
Shoemaker said the numbers have probably increased, due to the length of time that has elapsed since the report was given.
Close to 7,000 people in Kentucky have MS.
Erin Moyers, a former Daily News employee, learned during the past year that she has MS.
“MS is a new chapter in my life,” said Moyers, adding her husband, John, and three daughters have helped her through the process.
One day, her oldest daughter, Riley, wrote a poem for her which stated “God has a plan for you mommy.”
“John is my husband and best friend,” said Erin Moyers. “If it wasn’t for him, I would be lost. He is a wonderful man.”
Moyers said her daughters have made several prayer requests for her in school.
“MS has allowed me to see things in a new perspective,” she said.
“It’s a terrible disease,” said Dianne Belcher, who was diagnosed with the disease in 2012. However, Belcher said she had the disease for several years prior to being diagnosed.
“It creates partial or complete paralysis,” said Belcher, noting the disease gets worse over time.
Moore said the disease disconnects the individual from people. There is no cure, she said, and occasions where it takes some people years to discover they have the disease.
Moore said no two people diagnosed with MS are the same. Different medications help different people.
When it comes to the disease, knowledge is power, said Shoemaker.
“MS is only a part of me. It will never define who I am,” she said.
MS is described as a chronic, often disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system, which is made up of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves.
Symptoms may be mild, such as numbness in the limbs, or severe paralysis or loss of vision. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS are unpredictable, varying from one person to another.
Anthony Cloud can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 606-248-1010, ext. 208.