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UW-P to host WalkMS benefit

Shawn McClain, Lead News Reporter
April 18, 2013

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville will host a walk to benefit Multiple Sclerosis research on April 28th at 10:00 a.m.

According to the nationalmssociety.org, Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic, often disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system, which is made up of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves.  Symptoms may be mild, such as numbness in the limbs, or severe, such as paralysis or loss of vision.  The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS are unpredictable and vary from one person to another.

Senior industrial technology major Joshua Miller, whose mother suffers from MS, sees firsthand how painful and debilitating MS can be.

“I have three younger sisters at home.  My mom has bad days when she needs extra help,” Miller said.  “Some days, she is in so much pain she sleeps 18 hours at a time.”

After participating in UW-Platteville’s previous MS walks, Miller said he decided to step up his involvement.  Miller has helped organize pizza and subs from local businesses as well as working to make sure both the one-mile and three-mile walking routes are taken care of.

“People with MS seem to always be positive and involved,” Miller said.  “If they can do it, the least I can do is help and do what I can.”

Student support services learning specialist Priscilla Hahn has been involved with the MS walk the last two years as an advisor for Students Planning for Success.  Students Planning for Success is an organization whose members have a common interest in disabilities and support and promote disability awareness, Hahn said, but the reason for campus involvement is more personal.

“One of the past presidents of Students Planning for Success had multiple sclerosis and it affected him physically,” Hahn said.  “This student had to overcome many obstacles but persevered with a smile.  This student made a positive impact at UW-Platteville and the WalkMS is one way to stay connected.”

While MS can occur in anyone, researchers believe geology may play an important role, especially early in life.

According to merckmanuals.com, the place where people spend the first 15 years of life affects their chance of developing multiple sclerosis.  It occurs in 1 of 2,000 people who grow up in a temperate climate but in only 1 of 10,000 people who grow up in a tropical climate.  Multiple sclerosis almost never occurs in people who grow up near the equator.

The chances of getting MS increase with latitude, and according to the nationalmssociety.org, the highest rates occur in latitudes above 40 degrees.  Wisconsin has latitude of 44.5 degrees, which is why Hahn and Miller strongly encourage students and faculty to participate in the walk.

“Having one of the highest incidence rates in the state means most Platteville residents probably know someone whose life is touched by MS,” Hahn said.  “So everyone who participates in WalkMS is helping someone they know.  Plus, WalkMS is a fun event for all–there will be balloon sculptures, music, reflexology and food.”

For more information or to get involved go to walkMSwisconsin.org or call 800-242-3358.

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