Mar 19, 2012
Local Woman Inspiring and Supporting Others in Their Fight against MS
Byram – 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.
Byram resident Allison Kennan was named the 2012 Walk MS Ambassador for the New Jersey Metro Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Mrs. Kennan, who has been living with MS for the past eight years, will help to raise awareness of this devastating disease and the Walk MS fundraising event by sharing her story.
In 2004 Allison could not have been more ecstatic, she was pregnant with her first child, her future was full of possibilities and wonder. Four months into that pregnancy things changed; she began to experience sever shooting pains and cramping in her extremities that caused her hand to form into a claw. This continued to happen as many as 30 times a day. She told her obstetrician he chalked it up to the baby hitting a nerve.
After repeated episodes she was finally referred on to a neurologist who quickly diagnosed her with multiple sclerosis. Allison felt completely devastated by the diagnosis. In order to alleviate the excruciating cramping pain, she went to the hospital for three one hour infusions of medication. In February 2005 she had a beautiful, healthy baby boy, she was able to hold her baby without her hands and feet cramping up which seemed to subside postpartum.
For the next three years Allison tried to ignore her MS, she didn't want to read any literature about MS or discuss it with others. She just was not ready to accept it. In 2007 she came across information about Walk MS and decided that it was time to take control of this disease. “This was how I was going to get involved and learn to accept that I had MS”, says Allison. She decided to do some fundraising and formed a small team, "Allison's Angels". They are a small group of friends and family, but large in spirit and support; the support this group provides to Allison is indescribable. That first year that year Allison walked with her family and friends was all it took, they continue to walk and fundraise each year.
In addition to that her family, along with several friends, has continued to carry on the team name and spirit by riding in both the Great New Jersey Country and the Coast the Coast Bike MS rides. This past year, Allison herself finally felt physically well enough to participate in the Great New Jersey Country Ride cycling 20 miles and successfully completing it! One of Allison’s goals for the future is to ride 50 miles in Coast the Coast Bike MS Ride.
On Sunday, April 15, 2012 Allison and her team, “Allison’s Angels”, will hit the trail to help create a world free of MS in the 2012 Walk MS to be held in Roxbury at Horseshoe Lake Park. Their goal is to create MS awareness and raise funds to support critical programs and services and h 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: Jennifer Hivry 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/njm
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