By Rachel Kytonen
Every day is different for Sally Forehand. Some days she can wake up and feel great, and other days, she has very little energy.
That’s what life is like for Forehand, of Cambridge, who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis during the winter of 2000, at the age of 38.
In order to make a difference in the lives of people living with MS, the community is invited to the 2nd annual Multiple Sclerosis Walk For a Cure this Sunday, May 1.
Registration takes place between 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. at the Anoka Ramsey Community College, Cambridge Campus. As soon you register you can begin your walk, choosing from a 1.5 mile walk or a 5 mile walk. Participants are encouraged to register ahead of time and raise pledges, but registration and any pledges can be brought in that same day.
Pledges raised by the Walk will be given to the MS Society who uses the funds for multiple things for people diagnosed with MS.
Snacks and drinks are provided along the way, and a gathering will be held at the end consisting of lunch, music, face painting and other fun activities.
Forehand said MS changes your entire lifestyle.
“After the diagnosis, I wasn’t able to work,” Forehand said. “I had to learn to sit around, and I would say the fatigue outnumbers anything. When I used to go grocery shopping, I would go for the whole week. Now I can only shop for a few days at time, and by the time I get home, my kids have to put the groceries away for me. I also have drop foot, where my one foot doesn’t want to pick up anymore, so I’m always worrying about tripping.”
Forehand said every day is different.
“I can wake up tomorrow and have a symptom, or I can wake up and not have any symptoms at all,” Forehand said. “Sometimes the symptoms can last a day, week or month, and then disappear for a while.”
Gardening was another passion of Forehand’s that she had to give up after her diagnosis.
“I’m normally a gardener, and used to really enjoy canning and making jams and jellies,” Forehand said. “MS really put a damper on that because of the time it takes, and the concentration involved.”
Forehand said through everything though, her family has stood by her side.
“My family has been extremely supportive, and if it wasn’t for their sense of humor I think I’d be in tears most days,” Forehand said. “Every day is a challenge to make it through the day. I cry a lot because the things I used to be able to do, I can’t do now.”
Forehand said the loss of vision in her left drive has also impacted her driving, and she doesn’t drive at night now, or in the rain or snow. She also mentioned she isn’t able to watch her grandchildren as often as she used too, and misses that was well.
Forehand said most people know someone impacted by MS.
“Often times, you may not see MS on the outside, and just because you don’t see anything, doesn’t mean we’re healthy,” Forehand said. “It’s a hidden disease. And if you don’t know someone now with MS, you probably will know someone in the future. I encourage anyone to get involved with the MS Walk. It will bring you a lot of satisfaction and reward.”
Forehand said the local MS support group, which typically meets the third Thursday of the month in the Foundation Room of Cambridge Medical Center, has been a big help for her.
“There isn’t any cure for MS, but they have come up with a couple of medications to slow down the disease,” Forehand explained. “But the local MS support group can provide support for those diagnosed with MS, as well their caregivers.”
Forehand also gave a lot of credit those in the support group, and thanked them for all the hard work they have put into organizing the MS Walk.
Forehand, the local MS Coordinator, can be contacted for more information by calling 763-691-5552. Registration for the Walk can also be done by calling 1-800-582-5296 or by visiting www.walkMSminnesota.org.