With the plethora of absurd news items (I was going to describe them as crap, but chose absurd news items instead) flooding radio, television and the Internet, I have decided to spread the word that good, wonderful things are also taking place in this crazy, mixed-up world.
The column published here April 12 was devoted to enlightening readers to the nature of multiple sclerosis, an unpredictable and often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Most victims of this disease are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50. More than twice as many women as men are struck by the affliction. MS affects more than 400,000 people in the U.S. and 2.1 million worldwide.
Every hour in the United States, someone is newly diagnosed with the disease. The disorder interferes with the flow of information from the brain to the body and inhibits movement. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The advancement, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot be predicted, but advancements in research and treatment are moving us closer to a world free of MS.
The National MS Society devotes $45 million each year to research projects, relentlessly pursuing prevention, treatment and a cure. Established in 1989, the society’s annual fundraising event, the MS Walk (a 5-K route) this year attracted more than 300,000 walkers at 600 locations covering all 50 states.
Bruce Johnson of Cambria, captain of our local team of walkers — “The MSketeers” — decided that this was going to be his final walk. During his six years as leader of the pack, he has raised almost $50,000.
“The local MS Walk set a goal of $80,000 and so far has collected more than $74,000. Our MSketeers were hoping to raise $18,000, and at present have topped $20,000,” Bruce reported with a broad smile. The Cambria team continues to be the top money-raising team at the San Luis Obispo walk. Among walk supporters are Rabobank and Lance Morales of Cambria Pines Realty.
Bruce and your columnist received numerous questions and atta-boys generated by the April 12 article.
“Well, I planned that this was going to be my final walk, but I am so pleased that we raised more than our goal that I have decided that maybe we can do even better next year. I’ll be back,” he promised.
For more information about becoming a MSketeer or to make a donation, please call Bruce at (805) 927-5487. To learn more about the many programs and benefits provided by the MS Society, call (310) 479-4456, or visit http://bit.ly/JFq1eO.