Apr 30, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Susan Ashline
April 26, 2013 OFFICE: 585-271-0805 (X70344)
Handler Doesn’t Horse Around When it Comes to Trotting on MS
Oneonta, NY— Equestrian Sarah Murphy is using her two-legged and four-legged friends to help find a cure for multiple sclerosis, and more immediately – to bring joy to those who are living with the disease.
On Sunday, May 5, Murphy is walking in Walk MS Oneonta at Neahwa Park, along with friends from the farm where she works. Team Victory Hill Farm also includes Murphy’s mother, Patricia, who was diagnosed with MS about three years ago.
“After running multiple tests, including bone cancer tests, doctors finally determined it to be MS,” said Murphy. “They weren’t sure at first.”
The disease of the central nervous system affects 2.1 million people worldwide – more women than men – and in Upstate New York, the rate of diagnosis is about twice the national average.
Walk MS is the major annual fundraiser for the National MS Society Upstate New York Chapter and money raised supports MS research to find a cure, and local program and services. In Otsego County there are more than 115 people living with MS, and more than 12,800 across Upstate New York.
Team Victory Hill Farm has a fundraising goal of $500, and a unique way to try to reach it. On Sunday, April 28, the farm is inviting the community to come for pony rides, riding lessons and a how-to on disciplining and grooming the horses – all for a donation. Proceeds will go toward Murphy’s Walk MS team.
Then in the summer, Murphy hopes to get a certification to start a therapeutic riding program at the farm, along with the farm’s owner, Peg Marrone. The pair got the idea after noticing how much Murphy’s mother enjoyed riding one of the horses.
“Mom found it very therapeutic and relaxing,” said Murphy. “Plus, it’s a workout. A lot of people don’t realize you get exercise while you do it.”
The farm has eight horses, each of which has its own personality.
“One day, my mother’s arm was hurting,” Sarah said. “Licks, one of the horses, would only go near her one arm that hurt that day.”
And Magic, another horse, is perfect for children ages four to six. Snickers is an older, big guy, but very relaxed and great for pony rides, and then there’s Dallas, Murphy’s favorite.
“He has a youthful personality,” said Murphy. “He can have fun if there’s a toy out in the pasture.”
The program would be open for people with other disabilities, too, such as Down syndrome or autism.
Aside from the therapeutic benefits of riding and handling horses, Murphy says they teach a couple of very important lessons: a sense of accomplishment and how to get over your fears.
What: Walk MS Oneonta
Where: Neahwa Park, Neahwa Place, Oneonta, NY 13820
When: Sunday, May 5; registration 9 a.m.; walk starts 10 a.m.
How: Participants can register on site the day of the event, or online at www.walkMSupsateny.org.
For more information, contact Susan Ashline, Communications Manager, 585-271-0805 (x70344), Susan.Ashline@nmss.org.
About multiple sclerosis and the National MS Society Upstate New York Chapter: Multiple sclerosis, an often disabling disease of the central nervous system, interrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed. The rate of diagnosis in Upstate New York is about double the national average. MS affects more than 2.1 million people worldwide and more than 12,800 people in the 50-county region served by the Upstate New York Chapter. For more information, visit www.MSupstateny.org.