Scott Markle was
in his teens when the muscles on the right side of his body started to
weaken and his vision began to blur.
For years, he lived with the knowledge that something was wrong, but no one knew exactly what was causing the symptoms.
Finally, in 1988, when he was 21, doctors told Markle he had multiple sclerosis.
As the neurological disorder progressed, his body continued to weaken, forcing him to give up a baseball scholarship.
Today, at 45, Markle said fatigue is his biggest problem.
“I can walk, but I don’t have a whole lot of energy,” Markle said. He often becomes so exhausted he has to use a wheelchair.
Markle, his wife, Glenna, and stepdaughter, Ann Dittmer, joined about 700 people in Downtown Evansville on Saturday morning for the 10th annual local MS Walk for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. This year’s theme was “Finding a Cure One Step at a Time.”
Theresa Brun, president of the Indiana Chapter of the MS Society, estimates the walkers raised $70,000.
The money will be used for MS support programs and national research projects aimed at finding a cure and developing more effective drugs for treating MS.
NASCAR driver Kelly Sutton was the featured guest at the MS Walk.
Sutton said new drugs that stave off the advances of MS have made it possible for her to continue racing.
Sutton, 29, was diagnosed with MS when she was 16, one year after receiving her first race car. As the disease progressed, she was forced to use a wheelchair and to stop racing.
But Sutton started taking the drug Copaxone and her symptoms eased. She got back on the NASCAR circuit in 1997, and was named the most popular driver that year — the fourth time she had received the honor.
The wife and mother of two small children continues to live life to the fullest. She travels around the country with Team Copaxone competing in NASCAR events while inspiring other people with MS to keep a positive attitude and to get on some type of therapy right away.
“I’m well aware of what MS is and what it can do to you, so I eat a good diet, exercise and take my therapy to hopefully postpone what’s going to happen to me in the future,” Sutton said.
“Even if I go into a wheelchair, I still am who I am. I’m still Kelly Sutton … and my light’s going to shine whether I’m standing or in a wheelchair.”