June 19, 2004
Capital News 9
Kate Weegar of Albany suffered with symptoms for two years.
"I was misdiagnosed saying I had carpel tunnel. I went to several different neurologists," she said.
It was MS or Multiple Sclerosis. That was five years ago and Kate is managing with medication. MS is a neurologic condition, affecting mostly women in adulthood. Symptoms of MS are unpredictable and vary from person to person. Common symptoms include fatigue, loss of balance and muscle coordination, and slurred speech. Kate still has flare ups.
"When my nerve endings get all swollen, it attacks my body and I have trouble walking, speaking, using my hands," she said.
At times, when she wasn't well enough to go into work, she worked from
home. Her dedication got her the Excellence Service Award. She organized
15 coworkers, the Aetna Angels, to walk for MS.
"I volunteer my time. I solicit people to take photographs at the MS walk, donate food platters for the walkers," she explained.
In spite of any side effects, Kate was able to raise $6,000 for the MS Society. Because of their support, her employer, Aetna, was nominated by the MS Society for the Employer of the Year. Her coworkers also rang in their support.
Coworker Linda Allen said, "She's very strong mentally, and she just doesn't think she has a disease. And so she just goes about her everyday life -- like she doesn't have a disease."
Jennifer Sutphen, also a coworker, said, "She sets an example for the entire staff so that regardless of what type of disability you may have, life goes on. She's just is a power house."
Kate said every day is a challenge.
"I think everyone with MS thinks that way -- wondering about the uncertainty
of the disease. You not knowing if you are going to be able to walk or
talk the next day, but you fight you have to fight," she said.
Copyright © 2004, TWEAN News Channel of Albany, L.L.C.