For the person who can’t take part, MS Walk means the most

The annual event held Sunday at Lakeside Park raised awareness and research donations.

The crowd begins their journey as the MS Walk kicks off Sunday at Lakeside Park.

The crowd begins their journey as the MS Walk kicks off Sunday at Lakeside Park.

Wendi Thomson remembers being able to run the entire MS Walk from start to finish. Now she smiles and hangs back as the crowd goes on without her. It’s all she’s capable of doing.

Thomson, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, was on hand at Sunday’s MS Walk at Lakeside Park. The annual event, now in its 15th year in Nelson, is held to raise awareness and research donations for the degenerative disease, which is believed to attack the central nervous system. An organizer said the walk unofficially raised $15,772.13 in donations as of Monday.

As she stood, cane in hand, Thomson said it was always a bittersweet moment attending the event.

“As someone who has it, it’s great to see everyone come out,” said Thomson. “Sometimes I find it a little odd because I’ve come all the years and I’ve seen the natural progression, even in myself but with other people who have MS, declining in their disability levels.”

Canadians suffers from MS more than anywhere else in the world. A report in 2013 by the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation ranked Canada first with 291 cases of MS per 100,000 people.

Thomson was diagnosed with MS in 2003. She used to be an athletic person — she said she met her husband Tom on a ball field — but those days are behind her now. Her right leg doesn’t lift anymore and her right hand is also affected by the disease.

So instead she relies on Tom and her 10-year-old daughter Angelia to do the walk for her. The family had participated prior to Thomson’s diagnosis, but now it takes on a special significance as they hold out hope for a cure.

Thomson is optimistic that day will come. She doesn’t dwell too much on what she can’t do physically — her family is there to do that work for her.

“I think it’s a lot in your mind,” she said. “You have to take what you can do and just go forward from there. Really, I just say never lose hope. Because we’re so close to a cure, there’s many things right on the edge right now.”