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Answering questions about MS

Written by on Jul 23, 2010

When you engage in fundraising for the MS Challenge Walk, you're not only raising money; you're also raising awareness. Despite MS afflicting 400,000 Americans, many people do not know exactly what this condition is or how it affects their loved ones. When confronted with questions about MS, you may not always have a good answer. If you try to be specific, you can watch their eyes glaze over as you explain that "multiple sclerosis is a neurological disorder in which the immune system attacks the myelin sheath that helps conduct electrical impulses throughout the nervous system" — what a mouthful! And even that biological perspective doesn't convey what it's like to live with MS. So how do you succinctly tell people what this cause is that you're walking 50K for?

Songwriter Kristie Salerno Kent can answer these questions for you, as she knows something about MS herself:

A few years after Kristie received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Syracuse University, Kristie was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis … She decided that she was not going to give up her dreams of performing just because of her MS diagnosis. Kristie took on the role of an MS Lifelines Ambassador and travels the country speaking and singing for others who are affected by the disease. Now her performances are for a purpose and not just entertainment.

Kristie doesn't have to come to your neighborhood to give a speech about MS. Her YouTube video, "The Show Must Go On", is something you can send to your friends and family to help them understand the experience and condition that is MS.

There are several more excellent videos that give other perspectives on multiple sclerosis. Since my mom has MS, one of my favorites is "My Fight with MS", by Kyle Surkovich, whose father has MS.

These videos will help you raise funds for and awareness of multiple sclerosis, bringing us a step closer to a world without it!

Ken joined the MS Challenge Walk in 2005, more than a decade after his mother was diagnosed. After walking for three years and 150 miles, he switched to the support crew and now rides his bicycle along the trail, providing whatever encouragement (and snacks!) he can to the 600 walkers. He is also an alumnus of the event's steering committee and is this site's webmaster.