I know everybody's really bum'd this week about the Tysabri and now the Amspro news, but I was surfing around this morning and saw this article that a college freshman had written. His name is Ryan Stumpf and he goes to Millersville University in Pennsylvania. His article made me smile because there's this 18 or 19 year old kid somewhere doing everything he can to spread the word and raise money to help make our lives better. He doesn't have MS and it doesn't sound like anyone in his family does, but If any of you go to this walk and happen to see this guy, tell him thanks from me.
BEEPBEEPBEEPBEE- Startled awake, you reach over and slam the snooze button on your alarm, your brain still foggy with sleep. Glancing at the digital display, your eyes try to focus and fail, instead showing a blurred, doubled scene. Standing up as you try to rub your eyes clear, you stumble, nearly falling to the floor. Regaining your balance, you stand, and suddenly realize that you don't know where you are, or even who you are.
Imagine waking up in a similar way nearly every day of your life, sometimes substituting other symptoms such as fatigue, numbness and loss of muscle control. You are one of a legion of Americans, more than 400,000 in number, that acknowledge suffering from a disease called Multiple Sclerosis.
MS is a degenerative auto-immune disease that affects the body's central nervous system. A fatty tissue called myelin, which helps conduct the electrical impulses that travel along the nervous system, surrounds the nerve fibers in this system. With MS, myelin is damaged, leaving scars and lesions on the nerve fibers called sclerosis. Myelin also makes the basic job of the nerves possible, so when myelin or the nerve fiber is destroyed or damaged, the ability of the nerves to conduct electrical impulses to and from the brain is disrupted, and this produces the various symptoms of MS.
There is no cure for MS as of yet, but drugs can help slow the course of the disease and stave off some symptoms. It is not contagious, directly inherited, nor is it fatal; however it is a large burden on those who suffer from the disease and their families, with most victims diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, and almost three times as many women contracting the disease as men. Think about that. You, the college student reading this article right now, are in the greatest susceptibility range.
While there is nothing you or I can directly do to prevent getting a disease such as MS, we can support those who have it and the research into its causes and cures. The National Multiple Sclerosis Walk is an annual event that raised over $45 million last year alone nationwide. I support this cause each year by walking in a team, Team Neener, captained by a good friend of mine whose wife has suffered from the symptoms of MS for years. Our first year walking as a team, we raised over $10,000 for the MS Society through the walk. Subsequent years have garnered less support, but we are aiming for another $10,000 goal with this year's walk. I know I cannot be alone on this campus in knowing someone who suffers from MS, and I also know that even if you don't know someone with the disease, you know someone who does. If you don't: Hi. My name is Ryan Stumpf. Now you do.
I am calling on you, the students and faculty of Millersville University; to do all you can for this year's Walk, whether it is forming a team for MU or joining us in our continuing efforts in Team Neener. If every person who reads this article donates a single dollar, we can raise over $5000 easily to combat this terror that haunts our friends and loved ones, more if you choose to walk with us and grab donations from friends and family.
Join us in our fight against this horrible illness, come walk with us in the Multiple Sclerosis Society's MS Walk 2005. With your help, we can get that much closer to better treatments and to a cure.
By Ryan Stumpf
Published: Thursday, March 3, 2005