Walking for a Cure

Canada has the highest rate of MS in the world. Every day three Canadians are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, an unpredictable illness that affects vision, balance, memory and mobility. The causes of MS are still unknown and there is no cure.

Jennifer Young is one of our senior designers here at Relish and has been a valued member of the team since 2012.

She was diagnosed with remitting/relapsing MS in September 2016 after going to the Emergency room with numbness and tingling from the waist down. She would later find out that what she was experiencing was a strong MS flare up. “I have always been an active person,” says Jennifer, “but I found myself struggling to walk, in pain, experiencing brain fog, fatigue and what they call the ‘MS hug’ – where it feels like someone is hugging you but not in a good way.”

Jennifer was diagnosed on the spot, in part due to her family history with the illness, and was admitted to the MS Clinic at Health Sciences four weeks later. From there, she was assessed by a physiotherapist, had an MRI, received a strong dose of steroids and was prescribed disease-modifying medication that helps her manage her symptoms. It’s not just the physical aspect that affected Jennifer (and many others MS warriors) but also the psychological effect of having to adjust to the diagnosis of a chronic illness.

Jennifer continues to heal from that initial flare-up three years ago. She maintains an active lifestyle, participating in activities such as yoga, balance and strength exercises and rowing. She implemented other lifestyle changes like a healthy diet, getting enough sleep at night (she participated in a fatigue management study out of Ottawa) and stress reduction to also help manage her symptoms and prevent future flare-ups. With strength and determination, Jennifer realized that although MS is a part of her, it does not define her.

It’s that same strong-will that lead her to get involved in the MS Walk, a cross-Canada event that inspires over 30,000 family and friends to walk for the cure. “I have seen what the disease can do and how it can take your mind into a dark place. I have experienced it on both sides, as a caretaker and having the disease myself,” says Jennifer. “I also know that the MS Society has been making great strides with their research studies of medication and symptom management. I’ve seen how far the research has come along since my grandmother and auntie were first diagnosed. Treatments for managing the disease are great, but I’d like to see a cure in my lifetime. I walk for my grandmother, I walk for my auntie, and I walk for myself.”

This year, Jennifer was chosen as a Manitoba Ambassador for the MS Walk. She will be walking on May 5, with her team, Jenny and the MSfits in the hopes of reaching their goal of $10,000.

If you would like to donate to Jenny and the MSfits, visit their page.

To read more about Jen’s story, visit her personal page.

And, to find out how you can get involved and join a team for the MS Walk, check out their website.

Let’s help Jennifer reach her goal so that one day researchers will find a cure for MS.