Jan 18, 2012
Local Woman Inspiring and Supporting Others in Their Fight Against MS
Ringoes – Every hour someone is diagnosed with MS, a chronic disease of the central nervous system for which there is no cure. Multiple sclerosis interrupts the flow of information between the brain and the body and can stop people from moving. For some, this means living with unpredictable symptoms that can come and go, like numbness and blurred vision. For others, there is more permanent damage, like paralysis. For everyone impacted by MS, it means not knowing what the day will bring and always being prepared for the unexpected, making it difficult to move forward in life.
Ringoes resident Laura Rizza was named the 2012 Walk MS Ambassador for the New Jersey Metro Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Mrs. Rizza, who has been living with MS for more than ten years, will help to raise awareness of this devastating disease and the Walk MS fundraising event by sharing her story.
Although Laura was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2002, looking back on it she believes that she was experiencing symptoms for at least five year prior to her diagnosis. Laura remembers he legs buzzing after going for walks, which she thought was normal, and vision problems that doctors diagnosed as migraine headaches. In her early 30’s she began having difficulty with her legs and by age 33 Laura was a diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
Her disease remained silent for a couple of years after starting a disease modifying medication. She decided to stop teaching, her full time profession, while she was "still healthy" so she could be involved in her children’s’ education. Unfortunately MS had another idea. She spent the next 4 years in and out of the hospital suffering from major flare-ups which included total loss of mobility, eyesight, bladder function, and severe nerve pain. She lost her sense of balance and found it hard to get through the simplest of tasks. She was never fully recovered from a flare-up before she was struck down with another one. Years of changing medications, countless self injections and physical therapy became a way of life; there was little time for anything else.
The support and love of her husband and three children helped Laura through the difficult times with MS and gave her the strength to continue to try new avenues. With yet another try with a new medication she found success. She realized, in this long, arduous journey, that you must keep an open mind when it comes to drug therapy. “You can give up or you can fight back”, says Laura, she decided to take her life back. She became a patient advocate speaker and is currently writing a book about her triumphs and tragedies with MS. Now she is a voice of HOPE, the voice that helps others that are facing MS alone.
Laura has been participating in the National MS Society Walk MS event since 2003. That first year Laura walked with 6 family members and since then her team has grown to 126. Laura and her teammates have raised more than $25,000 over the years for MS research and to support local programs and services for those affected by the disease.
On Sunday, April 15 2012 Laura and her team, “Team Rizza”, will hit the pavement to help create a world free of MS in the 2012 Walk MS to be held n Flemington at the Liberty Village Premium Outlets. Their goal is to raise $15,000 in 2012 to help fund a cure.
The New Jersey Metro Chapter will host 12 Walk MS sites throughout the state with over 10,000 participants and a goal of raising $2 million. Participants are welcome to register individually, or join or create a team. For more information about Walk MS please contact: Patricia Tupycia at 800-344-4867 or visit http://walknjm.nationalmssociety.org.
About the National MS Society
The National MS Society is a movement by and for people with MS. The Society funds cutting-edge research, drives change through advocacy, facilitates professional education and provides programs and services that help people with MS and their families to move their lives forward. MS stops people from moving. We exist to make sure it doesn’t.
Fund-raisers include: Walk MS, New Jersey’s largest day of walking, kicking off April 15, 2012; Bike MS “Coast the Coast,” on May 19 & 20, cycling from Monmouth University in Long Branch to Cape May, featuring 25, 50, 85 and 170 mile ride options; and the fall 2012 Bike MS events, the “Hops to Hops”, (September 16) and the Great N.J. Country, (September 22 & 23) Bike MS Rides.
Join the movement.
Find out more at nationalmssociety.org.
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