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May 4, 2013

Second-annual MS walk to be held Sunday

PLATTSBURGH — Tina Arena knows firsthand how devastating multiple sclerosis can be.

Her mother, Pamela LaPlante, suffers from the chronic disease that targets the central nervous system, and she struggles with the disabling physical affects every day.

“It’s a tough thing,” Arena said.

“Some days she just doesn’t have the energy and is in a lot of pain. Some days are good, and some days really aren’t so good.”

LaPlante was diagnosed with MS in 2002 but physicians believe it had been present for more than two decades before it was finally identified.

Arena, from Clintonville, will be among those gathering at the U.S Oval on Sunday to support research and community programs to assist people living with multiple sclerosis.

The second-annual Walk MS is set for 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., with opening ceremonies set for 9:55 a.m.

“Last year was our inaugural event in Plattsburgh, and it went very well,” said Stephanie Bradshaw, director of development for the Upstate New York Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

“We’re really excited about continuing that success this year.”

MORE RESEARCH

In 2012, 380 walkers participated in the walk, and they helped raise $49,000.

“Our goal (in 2012) was to raise $29,000,” Bradshaw said of the tremendous support that helped exceed the goal by $20,000. “This year, we’re hoping to raise $53,000.”

Funds raised by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society are used for two main purposes: to support MS research and to provide local programs for people with the disease and their families.

“We spend millions and millions of dollars on research, but a portion of the money raised always stays in the community,” Bradshaw noted.

For instance, a recent educational program was offered in Lake George to update people living with multiple sclerosis on current medical breakthroughs and what may be on the horizon in treatment of the disease, she explained.

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