From the left; Alison

From the left; Alison

MS Walk raises public’s awareness

On Sunday April 29, the MS Walk to raise awareness of the debilitating disease will take place in Gyro Park

Deanie Worsfold spent 38 years sick and she didn’t know why.

Worsfold, 52, was intimidated by a series of strange symptoms—when she moved her head a tingling sensation would shoot up her spine, and her hands were always shaking. Twenty years later, when she gave birth to her second daughter, her answer arrived.

“My doctor could never figure out what was wrong with me,” said Worsfold. “But, when I gave birth to Rebecca—both of my feet went numb. So, I went to a neurologist and they said I either had a brain tumor or MS.”

She was diagnosed with an incurable disease, multiple sclerosis (MS). The rest of the world would have been mortified, but Worsfold said she felt relieved.

“I finally knew what was wrong,” she said.

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, often disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 40, and the unpredictable effects of MS last for the rest of their lives. It can cause loss of balance, impaired speech, extreme fatigue, double vision and paralysis.

On Sunday, the MS Walk to raise awareness of the debilitating disease will take place in Gyro Park. Participants can register or drop off pledges at the Kiwanis pancake breakfast with live entertainment at 9 a.m. The three-and-five-kilometer walking routes will provide water stations along the way, and the event will close with final remarks about the fundraising initiatives.

Worsfold acknowledges the challenges of living with MS, and she is eager—along with daughters Rebecca and Alison—to participate in the walk for MS on Sunday.

According to the MS Society of Canada, finding a cure means something different to everybody. For some people it means stopping MS symptoms, while others who have lived with the disease longer, simply want a solution to repair their nervous system and re-gain the abilities that they once had. It’s a long and scary road to tread.

People suffering from MS have raised red flags about their loss of mobility, an intolerance to heat and difficulty swallowing, just to name a few.

“I know that a lot of people would just roll over and die,” said Worsfold, “but I never did. I was always busy taking care of my girls. I never felt sorry for myself, and I don’t know a lot of people with MS who feel sorry for themselves.”

Her daughters were toddlers when she was diagnosed and they never let the impacts of the chronic disease create distance within their family.

“We did everything normally,” said Rebecca. “But, when I was 13, she got worse. We didn’t go anywhere after that.”

The family used to take camping trips, and when the girls were skiing with their father, Deanie would get a ride up the hill on snowmobiles or quads to show her support for her now 20-something year-old daughters.

Her other daughter (Alison) disagreed, and indicated that having MS not only impacted their mother’s life, it impacted how the family spent their time together.

“The weather affects her a lot so we never went traveling,” said Alison. “And when we went skiing, she couldn’t ever come with us.”

Deanie laughed and said if she went skiing with her shaky hands, the ski poles would be flying everywhere and somebody might lose an eye.

But the Worsfold family has found one thing everybody can do together, even Deanie. They have agreed to participate in the MS walk as a family.

The MS Society has organized 160 MS Walks across Canada, and 25 of those are taking place in B.C. and the Yukon.

For more information, visit the MS Society of Canada’s website at mssociety.ca.