When Tom Keough's sister Beth was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2006, he admits, he felt helpless and initially handled it poorly.
In an effort to do something positive, the Milford resident signed up for a one-day Walk MS in Worcester. He was immediately inspired by all the people he met, walking and working to find a cure for the disease affecting his sister.
Then Tom heard from a friend about the Challenge Walk MS on Cape Cod, a three-day, 50-mile journey to end MS forever. He immediately joined the friend's team, Bonnie's Believers.
"I jumped on board and started looking at different ways I could fundraise for the cause," said Tom. "Meeting so many amazing people along the way has only fueled my passion, and I walk for them as much as for Beth now."
Last year was Tom's sixth Challenge Walk MS, and the first time his sister Beth could join him.
"I was really excited to have her there to experience it as a walker and to meet others who understand what she is going through," said Tom. "Since I started walking, our family has always made Challenge Walk weekend an important time of year and it was cool that she could see it from start to finish. "
Beth and Tom will walk together again in this year's walk. Tom has high hopes for the weekend and beyond.
"My hope is to meet new friends to inspire us and reconnect with old friends who are stronger than they were before, whose treatments have been successful in controlling the disease's effects," he said.
"For my baby sister, I hope that she will continue to push her limits and know that her brother has her back, no matter what she wants to do in life. I hope that we can one day celebrate a cure and know that we were a part of making that happen."