Every Canadian has heard of multiple sclerosis; many have family members or friends living with MS on a daily basis. While most Canadians know that it can be a very debilitating disease, less of us have a full understanding of just how widespread it is within our borders, with three more people in Canada diagnosed every day.
There is currently no cure for MS, but every year researchers are getting closer – and you can help by participating in the annual MS walk.
Heron Instruments’ annually pledges employee Terri Kernaghan in the Hamilton, Ontario MS walk, showing support each and every year for Terri’s daughter, who is currently living with MS. She will be there once again for the 2014 event, walking with determination to finally find a cure for a disease that has afflicted too many Canadians for too long.
Every year over 40,000 Canadians lace up at the MS walk to help raise funds to donate to research for a cure. We get closer every year, but we’re still not quite there yet. The more people who hit the pavement, the sooner we’ll find a way to help end the suffering of thousands of Canadians, their friends and families.
What exactly is MS? What are the symptoms and causes?
There are an estimated 100,000 Canadians currently living with MS. It most commonly affects people between 15 and 40 years of age, although it can affect children as young as two years old as well. A diagnosis can be devastating for not only the afflicted individuals, but for family members and friends as well.
MS is a disease of the central nervous system – the area of the body that consists of the brain and spinal cord. It attacks the myelin, a protective covering wrapped around the nerves of the central nervous system, causing a wide range of symptoms that can impact vision, hearing, memory, balance and mobility. The cause of the disease is not yet known, but researchers continue to get closer towards finding the source, which could help pave the way to a cure.
Symptoms of MS are unpredictable and vary from patient to patient. They include balance and dizziness; bladder dysfunction; bowel constipation, diarrhea and incontinence; cognitive impairment; depression; dry mouth; dysarthria (difficulty speaking); dysphagia (difficulty swallowing); fatigue and fatigability; gait; hormonal influences for women; involuntary emotional expression disorder (IEED); incoordination; L’hermitte’s (Electric shock sensation radiating down spine with neck flexion); mood liability/Bipolar Affective Disorder; optic neuritis (inflammation of the optic nerve); pain; paroxysmal symptoms; sensory impairment, numbness and tingling; spasms; spasticity; tremor; Uhthoff’s Phenomena (Heat Intolerance); Useless Hand Syndrome (of Oppenheimer); and weakness.
More information on the MS walk and how you can sign up to help search for a cure.
The MS walk is the largest national fundraising program for the MS Society of Canada. It began in Canada in 1991, with successful events held in Edmonton, Alberta; St. John’s, Newfoundland; and Kingston, Ontario.
Last year over $11 million was raised, with donations going towards research and services. There are over 50,000 walkers and volunteers in over 160 communities throughout Canada who show their support.
If you would like to join Terri in the fight against MS in your own community, visit the MS Walk website and learn how to sign up, lace up and do your part to put an end to MS once and for all.
To learn more about multiple sclerosis and how it impacts thousands of Canadians every year, visit the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada website.