The Lakeland MS Society assists people living with Multiple Sclerosis in the Lakeland, with a large majority of their fundraising done through their annual walk. It is estimated that 100,000 people in Canada are living with MS and The Lakeland MS Society assists approximately 130 people in the area living with the condition.
Canada has one of the highest percentages of people living with the condition, which affects patients in various ways. The MS Society website notes “While it is most often diagnosed in young adults, aged 15 to 40, we know that it can affect younger children and older adults. MS is unpredictable and can affect vision, hearing, memory, balance and mobility. Its effects can be physical, emotional and financial. Currently there is no cure but each day, researchers are learning more about what causes MS and are zeroing in on ways to prevent it.”
Canada is one of the leaders in MS research, says client services and development coordinator, Jenna MacDonald, who notes that 50 percent of the funds raised from their annual event goes to national research. The other 50 percent “goes to local programming, special assistance funding, equipment funding, and programs to people within The Lakeland”.
One of those people is James Purdy. James is a 32 year old, married, father of three, who lives just outside of Bonnyville, AB. James was diagnosed in 2008 and became involved with The Lakeland MS Society in 2009 when he heard an ad for the annual walk on the radio. He notes, “once I was affected by it, I was more aware of what was going on” and goes on to say like a lot of people out there until it touched him, he “didn’t even know what MS was” and that The Lakeland MS Society has offered him and his family “a community of other people who have it (MS) as well and really a support system”. He says the MS Society in the area is “very important when you’re faced with something you don’t understand”. James noted that The Lakeland MS Society, although based in St. Paul with its offices and the run held there, it is really a Lakeland organization that “touches communities all over the area from St. Paul to Bonnyville to Cold Lake, Elk Point and Lac La Biche”.
There are various ways to help out with the annual event. You can find The Lakeland MS Society online and register. If you’re unable to attend the event on May 9th in St. Paul, you can support a team and donate to them. (James encourages you to find James Purdy’s MS Ain’t Purdy Team and donate to them).
There are options for all fitness levels including a 5 or 10 kilometer walk or run and a half marathon. Families are welcome to bring kids and bikes, wagons, strollers, whatever you want to use to show your support and participate. Visit The Lakeland MS Society online or call Jenna MacDonald at 780-645-3441 ext 226.