Mar 19, 2003
Daily Kent Stater
Erin Bedell was only eight years old when she found out her mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, an autoimmunization disease that attacks the central nervous system.
Bedell didn't understand what MS was and simply thought her mother was sick and not getting over it.
As she got older, she started reading about the disease and began to understand it.
The nerve fibers of the central nervous system are surrounded and protected by a fatty tissue called myelin, which helps the nerve fibers conduct electrical impulses. The myelin in people with MS is lost in areas, leaving scar tissue called sclerosis. When the myelin is damaged or destroyed, it is unable to conduct electrical impulses to and from the brain, producing the various symptoms of the disease.
The 2003 MS Walk is April 6 at Quail Hollow State Park in Hartville.
Check-in time is at 8:00 a.m. at the Manor House.
The walk is seven miles.
To register a team or to volunteer, call (216) 696-8220 or 1-800-667-7131.
Register online at: nationalmssociety.org
Now Bedell is an intern at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in Akron.
Bedell, a junior public relations major, said she wanted to do something to help her mother and others with the disease.
"I'd love to do something to help," Bedell said. "I have a passion for this because it affects me. Doing something to help educate people about MS is my contribution for something I feel like I really can't do anything about."
As an intern, Bedell said she helps write articles for the society's in-house publication the <ital> MS Connection <ital>. She said she also helps with their annual reports, writing feature stories and promoting the MS Walk.
Bedell is also a member of Chi Omega sorority, which participates in the annual MS Walk for its local philanthropy.
Chi Omega decided to make the MS Walk its local philanthropy in 1997, after one of the member's mother died of complications of MS, Bedell said. The members decided to help out with the event in her honor. The sorority has been taking part in the event ever since.
Bedell said there are at least ten girls in Chi Omega who are directly affected by MS. She said it was part of the reason she decided to join the sorority.
"It was like an added bonus," Bedell said. "I get to be around people who know what it's like to have a family member with MS."
The disease affects more than one of every 1,000 people in Ohio. There are more than 8,000 people affected by it in eastern and central Ohio.
Amy Kingan, a sophomore nursing major and member of Chi Omega, found out three years ago that her best friend's mother was diagnosed with MS.
"I wanted to educate myself more," Kingan said, "but it's hard to find ways to be involved."
Kingan said she found out about the MS Walk last year when she rushed Chi Omega. She said it was a coincidence that she joined a sorority that was involved with something by which she was affected.
Bedell said she and other members of Chi Omega will be helping with the MS Walk April 6 in Hartville.
Bedell said her mother thinks it is great that she is doing something to help.
"I think deep down it means a lot to her," Bedell said. "She knows I'm
doing it because I care. I hate knowing that someone close has a disease
and there's not much I can do about it."
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