Mulitple Sclerosis Luncheon

Multiple Sclerosis is a disease of the nervous system that can cause numbness, blindness even paralysis, but faced with that diagnosis, Wendy Booker didn't give up; she dug in and set out to run marathons and climb mountains.

Wendy Booker set out to climb Mount McKinley last year, despite the fact that she'd been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis a few years earlier.

Wendy Booker came to Tallahassee Wednesday to encourage other women and men with MS to set goals for themselves and challenge them to, as she calls it, "climb their own mountains."

Wendy ignored a numbness in her leg and left side for months and ultimately learned she had an incurable disease, but six marathons later and many mountains, Wendy lives out the words of her favorite saying, "The miracle is not that I finished, but that I had the courage to start."

The things this woman has done are simply amazing and inspiring. She has run two Boston marathons, climbed Mount McKinley and Mount Ranier among others, and soon she'll be running the Boston Marathon.

It's a disease of the nervous system, it causes numbness, it can cause blindness and paralysis and though it is not fatal, it is a chronic illness, so Wendy Booker is making sure more people know about it in hopes that more awareness and more money will lead to a cure.

wctv6.com Extended Web Coverage

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

  • Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms may be mild such as numbness in the limbs or severe -- paralysis or loss of vision.

  • Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40 but the unpredictable physical and emotional effects can be lifelong.

  • The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are giving hope to those affected by the disease.

What Causes MS?

  • Etiology - The study of all factors that may be involved in the development of a disease.

  • Genetics - The genes a person inherits may help determine whether that person is at increased risk for developing multiple sclerosis.

  • Trauma - The possible role of trauma in causing MS or in triggering MS attacks is a controversial subject.

  • Viruses - Although many different viruses have been suggested to cause MS, there has not yet been definitive evidence linking any one virus.

Symptoms

  • Fatigue
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Painful sensations
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Muscle weakness
  • Impaired balance
  • Spasticity
  • Tremor
  • Changes in bladder, bowel, and sexual function.
  • Forgetfullness, or difficulty concentrating
  • Speech and swallowing problems
  • Mood swings
  • Symptoms may come and go, appear in any combination, and be mild, moderate or severe. Some people will experience only a few of these symptoms in the course of their MS, while others will experience many more. There are medications and therapies to help with most of these symptoms.

Source: www.nmss.org (National Multiple Sclerosis Society Web site) contributed to this report.


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