Apr 16, 2013
GUILFORD, Conn.—The town of Clinton doesn’t usually play host to reptiles, but this year the Lively Lizards have chosen Joel Elementary School as their premiere stomping ground.
“Our team has transformed over the years, and 2013 was the time to change our colors completely,” explained Cheryl Link, captain of the Lively Lizards Walk MS fundraising team. “We are a smaller, slower moving team, but we have a lot of character. At last year’s walk, we used all of those characteristics to come up with a team name, the Lively Lizards.”
Link, who lives with her partner of 33 years, Mary, in Guilford, began experiencing numbness and tingling in her legs in the late ’80s. In November of 1991, she suffered an attack of optic neuritis. Confused but determined to find an answer, Link visited her doctor. One month later, she was officially diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
Armed with an answer, Link looked for ways to fight the disease. She discovered the National MS Society, and in 1993 began participating in their annual Walk MS.
“A friend and I were already walking together regularly,” remembered Link. “I jumped right onboard when I learned about Walk MS and formed a team of four friends. Two of those walkers, Mary Rose and Esther Dalbero, are still walking with me today.”
This year, Link and her supporters, formerly the Prowalkers, are taking on a new name, the Lively Lizards. The team will step out at this year’s Walk MS, presented by Travelers, on Sunday, April 21, in Clinton.
More than 6,000 Connecticut residents, like Link, live with multiple sclerosis, a potentially debilitating disease. The cause is unknown and there is currently no cure. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot be predicted. Funds raised ensure ongoing scientific research to find a cure and provide for the continuation of vital programs and services offered by the chapter to Connecticut residents affected by MS.
One member of the Lively Lizards, Betty Carter, hand-makes tote bags and hosts a drawing to support the team’s fundraising efforts. Link plans on hosting another drawing at the Knights of Columbus in New Haven, where she works as a life insurance underwriter. She also designed t-shirts and printed them through Custom Ink, which supported their team after seeing “Walk MS” printed on the back of the tees.
“There were a few years where I relied on the support of my friends and a wheelchair to help me complete the walk,” shared Link. “But now I am reenergized, back on my own two feet and walking to find a cure for MS.”
Funds raised by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Connecticut Chapter, through events such as Walk MS, presented by Travelers, ensure ongoing scientific research to find better treatments and a cure, and provide vital programs and services offered by the chapter.
Walk MS participants will walk at 12 different sites across the state, including Joel Elementary School in Clinton, on Sunday, April 21. Lunch is provided compliments of Subway restaurants and Coca-Cola.
Walk MS community partners include News 8, WUVN / WHTX Univision, Clear Channel Radio Connecticut, to include The River 105.9, Country 92.5, KISS 95.7, ESPN 1410 AM, KC 101.3, 960 WELI, and ESPN 1300 AM. Other community partners include 95.9 THE FOX, WCTY 97.7 and Associated Neurologists of Southern Connecticut, P.C.
“We may have changed our name, but my current team is just as determined as I was my first year,” said Link. “I know we have many years of walking ahead of us.”
To register with the Lively Lizards, to make a donation or learn more about the 2013 Walk MS, presented by Travelers, please visit www.ctfightsms.org.