Kristen Yorston’s dream is that one day the money raised by the MS Walk might help change things so that she wouldn’t need to gather her family to raise funds and participate each year.
“I hope they find a cure,” said Yorston. “That and find out what causes it to prevent others from going through it.”
This will be the second year that the 42-year-old California native, her husband, and children will be holding a fundraising barbecue at Liberty Foods in Fruitvale to gather sponsors and donations for the annual walk, which will be held locally at Gyro Park in Trail, Sunday.
“My son sells chocolates to raise money and my family, in-laws, and parents will be coming with me on the walk,” she said. “I guess I feel like I’m doing something to contribute to the cause.”
Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable disease of the central nervous system that can strike at any age but is most often diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 40.
It is the unpredictability of the disease that Yorston says she often finds the most troubling.
“The one line I probably heard most often that I am starting to understand now, is the unknown factor,” she said. “MS can take so many different paths that you never know what’s coming next.
“I run my own commercial cleaning business and when I was first diagnosed I was told I couldn’t work.
“Here I am four years into it and I’m still working but you just don’t know what’s going to happen. If you make plans are you going to be able to do them? It’s hard to think about the future.”
MS is more common in women than men and is more prevalent in people of northern European descent.
It is commonly found in colder, wetter climates and considered rare closer to the equator.
In a 2008 study, Canada was found to have amongst the highest rates of MS in the world, coming in fifth after the US, Germany, Norway, and Hungary.
It can be easy to dismiss at first, sometimes presenting as dizziness, or loss of balance, shaking, easily tiring, or depression, among many others.
The symptoms can also come and go making it even more confusing, as patients may not know what to expect next or if the symptoms they have experienced are even related to the disease.
It is the support that Yorston finds can make living with MS a little easier to deal with. The support of family, friends, the general public, and the local MS Society.
“When I was first diagnosed four years ago I contacted Lonnie at the Society,” Yorston said. “She tries to help out as much as she can. Being part of the Walk I try to help her to help out other people.”
The public can show their support by donating to the MS Society or by joining Yorston and her family at the Walk this year.
The annual MS Walk starts at 11 a.m. at Gyro Park, with registration starting at 9 a.m.
Anyone interested in joining the Walk can register at www.mssociety.ca or can contact Community Services Coordinator, Lonnie Fachina, for more information at 1-866-352-3997.