Beegle knows the effects of multiple sclerosis first hand. She was diagnosed with the disease in 1989, though she kept up her nursing job until 2005 when she was informed that she could no longer work due to her MS.
“A lot of people don’t know about multiple sclerosis, about what it really is,” Beegle said. “It’s a progressive neurological disorder that effects your movement, and that’s the thing, you can’t move.”
MS breaks up the flow of information between a person’s body and their brain and literally stops them from moving. It is an unpredictable disease that often disables a person’s central nervous system. Symptoms span from tingling and numbness to paralysis and blindness.
Beegle has lost her sight in one eye, but that hasn’t stopped her from volunteering with Walk MS and other activities. She has decided to donate the handmade, full-sized quilt as a raffle item during next Saturday’s event. Tickets cost $1 each and participants do not have to be present to win.
According to Beegle, 60 percent of the money collected from the walk will stay in Gallipolis to sponsor programs and exercise groups for people suffereing from MS.
The second annual Walk MS will begin at 8:30 a.m. with walker check-in. The walk features one and three mile routes and is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. The event will feature entertainment, snacks and refreshments.
In 2008, more than 250 people including 11 teams signed up for the Gallipolis walk and raised nearly $38,000. The three top fundraising teams last year were Team Jill, Amber’s Team, and Suzie’s Team, raising more than $21,000 total; Team Jill even made the top ten list for the entire Ohio Valley Chapter, raising nearly $9,000.
The three top individual fundraisers were Howard Miller, Jill Wright and Tami Taylor, rasing more than $14,000 total. In addition, Wright and Amber Barnes were recognized as Volunteers of the Year for the Ohio Valley Chapter, which extends to Cincinatti.
At least five teams have already signed up this for this year’s event and a goal has been set to raise $35,000.
“We had a lot of fun last year,” Beegle said. “It rained, but it didn’t seem to slow anybody down.”
Specific symptoms and the severity of MS on an individual cannot yet be predicted. The majority of people who have MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50; twice as many women are diagnosed as men. More than 400,000 people in the U.S. are affected with MS along with 2.5 million people worldwide.
“Every day I’m reminded of it, but you have to fight,” Beegle said. “It’s a disease that you have to fight.”
Anyone interested in participating this year’s Walk MS can register online at www.fightmstoday.org.