Fort Erie Times
At the age of 32, Jonathan Lee was working for Magna as a manufacturing engineer. He had no idea his life would change dramatically.
Then he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS).
Lee, a resident of Ridgeway, said he began experiencing some symptoms of the disease about four years ago, but at the time, he did not know they were associated with MS.
"I knew there was something wrong, but I had no idea what it was," he said, "I actually went blind for a week-and-a-half, but I'm much better now; I'm almost 20/20 again."
Since Lee was first diagnosed with the disease, he has had to give up his job and now uses a wheelchair to get around.
MS attacks the central nervous system, affecting the control people have over their bodies. Some of the symptoms include memory loss, optic neuritis, and loss of balance. Although their is no cure for the disease, there are medications available to help manage the symptoms.
"There are presently four medications that (help) manage the disease; they certainly don't cure it, (but) they have a tendency to slow down the progression and reduce the number of attacks that you get, because it comes in waves as well," Lee said.
He said he faces various challenges daily, including activities as simple as standing up, walking and battling fatigue.
"Probably 80 per cent of people that have MS have Fatigue symptoms," he said, "I'll take a shower in the morning and then I'll be wiped out for a couple of hours. Even though that seems (like) very little, that is a huge effort on my part."
Lee say it's his wife, Mollie, who supports him and helps take care of him.
"She gives me my injections of the medication that I'm on and she helps me out whenever I need it," he said. "For example, this morning I had a hard time putting on my slippers, so she helped me out before she went to bed."
He said his wife works midnight shifts so she can be at home in case Lee needs her assistance during the day.
The Multiple Sclerosis Society has also supported Lee by giving him a walker, a wheelchair, and study poles. In addition, Lee and his wife take part in a support group offered by the Society in Fort Erie.
The disease affects on in 500 Canadians, which is why Lee is encouraging Fort Erians to take part in the upcoming Supercities Walk for Multiple Sclerosis.
"Just about everyone you know knows someone who has it," Lee said of the disease and the reason to take part in the walk.
The event will take place in Welland, Niagara Falls and St. Catherines on April 13 to raise funds for the Niagara chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
For more information about the walks, call 905-937-7772 or register
online at http://www.supercitieswalk.com
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