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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Thousands walk, bike for MS

Every year millions suffer from Multiple Sclerosis (MS) as thousands lace up their shoes and hop on their bikes in support of finding a cure.

Those involved in the Toledo MS Walk and Reeves Northrup Memorial MS 150 Bike to the Bay raise money every year in support of the National MS Society.

For the Toledo MS walks approximately 75 volunteers are needed for the event, plus additional volunteers at each of the other five MS Walk sites in Lima, Findlay, Defiance, Mansfield and Lorain.

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease of the central nervous system affecting the brain and spinal cord. It usually strikes adults between the ages of 20 and 50. Every hour another person is diagnosed with MS, but for those living with it, MS is more than a statistic.

Tammy McKay has had MS for 4 years, however, she said she has only been diagnosed with it for eight months. “At first, the doctor said it was all in my head — that was really depressing,” McKay said.

McKay lives in Adalusia, Ala. with her husband and her two sons, ages 11 and 16.

“The most difficult part of living with MS is not being able to do things for my kids and go to events with them,” McKay said.

“Sometimes I’ll have plans to attend my son’s game and then the numbness will come and I can’t go — that really gets me down.”

Along with sudden numbness, McKay said she never knows when the pain is going to hit, and it often stops her from being able to walk.

The pain was so bad, McKay said it forced her to quit her job of 14 years as a twister operator at a carpet factory.

“It makes you ache all over until you can’t hold out any longer,” McKay said.

The Toledo MS Walk is April 6, while the other sites are scheduled for April 5 in Lima, May 3 in Defiance and Mansfield, and May 10 in Findlay and Lorain.

The Reeves Northrup Memorial Bike to the Bay is a two-day bike tour set for June 21 and 22.

Karen Moore, development manager for the National MS Society, coordinates the MS Walk for Northwestern Ohio.

“The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS cannot be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are giving hope to those affected by the disease,” Moore said.

McKay said, “I was on a roll last week — had three good days in a row.”

“The only thing that keeps me going is knowing that eventually I’ll have a good day,” McKay added.

These funds help local programs and services, including the Peer Support Program, Moore said. Regional support groups are also supported by the event in 26 additional counties in Northwestern Ohio.

Money also goes toward equipment assistance, information and referral services, programs for newly diagnosed clients, aquatics and equestrian therapy programs.

Bike to the Bay relies on hundreds of volunteers to handle everything from serving a pancake breakfast to moving nearly 2,000 pieces of luggage.

To become a volunteer for one of the National MS Society special events, contact the Northwestern Ohio chapter of the National MS Society at 800-368-7459 or 419-897-9533.

“Volunteers are always welcome,” Moore said. “There are always more jobs available than there are people to do them.”

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