Team Sensitive Care to Step Out in West Haven
MILFORD, Conn. – When Laura Woyciesjes was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998 it felt as though the ground beneath her shook.
Her symptoms began when she could not see clearly out of her right eye. She just assumed she needed new glasses. However, when her vision worsened she decided to go see her doctor. Her whole world changed that day.
It was 1996. At the time, Woyciesjes’ episodes of blurred vision were thought to be optic neuritis, which is often one of the first symptoms leading to a diagnosis of MS. After being referred to a neurologist and going through testing that included an MRI. Woyciesjes realized things might be more serious than she initially believed. Shortly after, at the age of 23, Woyciesjes was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.
“I was scared to death,” recalls Woyciesjes, whose family had a brush with MS when two family friends had passed away from the disease a few years back. “However, my doctor explained to me that I could have left the office that day with so much worse.”
More than 6,000 Connecticut residents, like Woyciesjes, live with multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease affecting the central nervous system. Symptoms can include, among other things, numbness and tingling in the limbs, difficulties with vision and speech, stiffness, loss of mobility and, in some more severe cases, total paralysis. The progress, severity, and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot be predicted.
“Fortunately, since my initial diagnosis, I consider myself extremely blessed that my life has not changed much,” said Woyciesjes whose symptoms have remained at bay.
Woyciesjes, who is dedicated to finding a cure for her disease, has participated in Walk MS for the last three years. Her company team, Sensitive Care, is comprised of people she has worked with for 15 years. As captain, Woyciesjes and her team were able to raise enough money to make them the top company team in both 2009 and 2010.
Laura Woyciesjes and her employer Dr. Mitchell Quintner, pose in the reception area of their office at Sensitive Care Cosmetic & Family Dentistry in Milford, CT. As an involved Rotarian, Dr. Quintner strongly supports Woyciesjes' fight against MS. Although not in the photo, the rest of Woyciesjes' team is comprised of co-workers and close friends. For more information on the Travelers Walk MS, to register or to donate to the Sensitive Care Team, visit www.ctfightsMS.org.
“I love the place and people I work with; they are like a family to me,” said Woyciesjes whose team walks at the West Haven site. “My employer, Dr. Quintner, and the staff of Sensitive Care Family & Cosmetic Dentistry are so wonderful and incredibly supportive.”
“This year I plan on applying a new fundraising idea,” said Woyciesjes, who is looking to boost donations in a creative way. “I think I might just get those cool sneaker cutouts and start selling them around the office. It will be interesting to see how much I can raise.”
Last year’s Travelers Walk MS attracted nearly 10,000 participants and raised a record $1.36 million. Funds raised at chapter events, such as Walk MS, ensure ongoing scientific research to find better treatments and a cure. These funds also provide for the continuation of much-needed programs and services offered by the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter, to those in the state living with multiple sclerosis.
This year the walk event is expected to raise $1.45 million. The 2012 Travelers Walk MS, presented by North American Power, will be held Sunday, April 22, at 12 sites statewide, including Cheshire, Clinton, Enfield, Litchfield, Manchester, New London, Simsbury, Stamford, West Hartford, West Haven and one newly added location, Danbury. Participants can select to walk either 2.5 miles or five. Participants are encouraged to form teams and raise funds to support ongoing MS research. Finish line activities include a complimentary lunch by Subway and Coca-Cola.
Travelers Walk MS community partners include News 8, WUVN 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 Connecticut Cruise News.
For more information on multiple sclerosis and the many services and programs offered by the chapter to those living with the disease, please e-mail at programs@ctfightsMS.org. For more information on the Travelers Walk MS, to register or to donate to Woyciesjes’ Walk MS team, Sensitive Care, visit www.ctfightsMS.org.
Veronica Romo is currently conducting an internship with the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter. She is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and Spanish at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, CT.