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Two Tallahassee women raising awareness for Multiple Sclerosis

Published: Mar. 16, 2021 at 4:42 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - More than a million adults in America suffer from multiple sclerosis, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The disease causes muscle spasms and a wide range of neurological symptoms.

In Tallahassee, two women living with MS are hoping to raise awareness and help others.

Tuesday, Ashley Peterman III walks slowly at Lake Ella. She pauses, holding her walker and shares, “I have had to take some time and some steps to find who I am. I am a new person with MS, I am not the same Ashley from four years ago.”

Peterman was diagnosed with MS four years ago, when she was just 25-years-old. She knew her life would change forever.

“It was new and fresh and it was a beast,” explained the National MS Ambassador. “As with everything in my life, I am a bull in a china shop. I just took it and ran with it and it ran me back.”

Peterman had to relearn how to walk. She now moves in style, with her gold walker she named ‘Bella’. She hopes with each step, she moves people, to learn more about MS, “I see it when I walk, it’s oh I know someone with MS or I know of that disease it’s just starting to create further awareness.”

That is where Natasha Acoff comes in. The National MS advocate was diagnosed in 2014, while she was in her 30′s. Natasha formed a team for Saturday’s National MS Society Walk, called ‘Tasha’s Team’. They hope through their advocacy and fundraising, they can improve the lives of people in the Big Bend who are battling MS.

“Within the Tallahassee community, there is a lack of resources and a lack of knowledge base about MS. We have a lot of great neurologists but not a lot of MS specialists,” said Acoff. “We need more information; we don’t want to have to go to Gainesville or Jacksonville.”

Acoff is part of their small local support group. She wants to let others know that they are not alone, “I, like a lot of other people locally, have no clue how many people there are that are right next to them with MS, and you want to have that place you can go to or that person you can go to about what you are feeling what you are going through.”

“It’s just learning and being comfortable with this disease,” expresses Peterman, “and knowing that I will live my best life with MS.”

The virtual fundraiser kicks off Saturday. The walk typically takes place at Lake Ella, but this year you can participate anywhere.

If you would like to join or learn more about ‘Tasha’s Team’, you can click here or click here.

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