Squamish woman working to support those with MS, one kilometre at a time

On average, 11 Canadians are diagnosed with MS everyday

Two years ago, Lindsay Waite could barely walk from the bed to the bathroom.

Sept. 14 she will walk 10 kilometres as part of the "I Challenge MS" fundraiser to battle the disease that laid her low in the first place.

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MS is a disease of the central nervous system – the brain and spinal cord.

The cause of MS is unknown, but researchers are looking at genetic and environmental factors, among others.

For Waite, a wasp sting in May of 2016, started the long and winding journey to an official diagnosis in 2017.

"I started to have weird things happening," Waite told The Chief.

"I had gone numb... I was having shocks down my spine."  She went to the emergency room three times, but no one could figure out what was wrong.

Waite's Squamish doctor insisted on having multiple neurologists look at her scans until one came back with the MS diagnosis.

She has likely had the disease since she was 17, but didn't know it.

"I used to be a competitive equestrian and I started to get really stiff — my legs got stiff to the point I couldn't get on a horse anymore," she recalled, adding at the time she thought it was weird, but likely due to nagging sports injuries.

She then experienced a bout of severe vertigo in 2015 that now she thinks was likely an MS flare up.

MS symptoms are unique to the individual, like a snowflake, Waite said.

A 2017 relapse was the most severe.

"It hurt to breathe and I could barely walk," she said, adding that her legs felt as if they were 500 pounds. 

She felt relieved when she got the diagnosis because at least she knew what was wrong, but later sadness and anger set in.

"Now I am OK. I am in the acceptance part," she said. "It is what it is."

Waite is on a medication that is working for her and is able to train for the 10 km in support of the MS Society of Canada in September.

She is up to four kilometres so far in her training.

"It is really meaningful for me," she said. "To think that two years ago I couldn't walk from the bed to the bathroom and now I want to be able to do 10 km."

Proceeds from "I Challenge MS" are used to support MS research, advocacy, programs, and services.

Select funds stay in the community to provide services for people with MS and their families.

Go here to support her campaign.

 

MS Stats for Canada

*Approximately 1 in every 385 Canadians live with MS.

*In Canada, women are three times more likely to be diagnosed with MS than men.

*On average, 11 Canadians are diagnosed with MS every day.

*MS is the most common neurological disease affecting young adults in Canada with 60% diagnosed between the ages of 20 – 49 years old.

*The unpredictable and episodic yet progressive nature of MS makes it challenging to maintain financial security and navigate health and community support systems including access to treatments, care, and appropriate housing.

*Canada is home to some of the world's leading MS researchers.

~ from MS Society of Canada

 

Full disclosure: Reporter Jennifer Thuncher and Lindsay Waite collaborated professionally on a children's book together.

 

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