May 16th, 2003
By: Melissa Kinton
The Monroe County Advocate
Tellico Plains resident Kenny Allison has been named Multiple Sclerosis Father of the Year for Monroe County.
Allison's wife Lisa and Jeanne Brice of the Mid South Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, nominated Allison for the award.
'He spends a lot of time with his kids and was a very good candidate,' said Brice.
Allison takes his two children, Jeannie, 11, and Kevin, 10, to Tellico Plains Junior High and picks them up every day. 'I try to be involved as much as I can,' said Allison. The family enjoys playing games together, fishing, watching NASCAR, and the UT Vols.
'As the MS progresses, I have to slow down playing ball and stuff like that,' he said. Allison and wife, Lisa, have been married 15 years.
In January 2001, Allison fell 11 feet off a ladder. He did not suffer any injuries from the fall but while getting a CT scan at the hospital, doctors found a brain tumor. They ordered an MRI, which showed lots of small lesions in the brain. After having brain surgery to remove the tumor, Allison had a spinal tap and was diagnosed with MS. Although diagnosed in 2001, he had symptoms of the disease since 1994.
'When I first found this problem I was sitting at the house one evening, kind of depressed, and Brother Bob knocked on the door. He was looking for someone else but he found me,' said Allison.
'It was no accident,' said Rev. Robert Irwin, former pastor of First United Methodist Church in Tellico Plains. Since that night, the church has played a very important role in the Allison family's lives. Their Sunday school teacher, Nicole Gonzales, has counseled and visited them often.
'I don't know how we would have made it without the church,' said Allison.
The Allisons will attend an MS Mother and Father reception on Sunday, June 8, in Chattanooga, where mothers and fathers from other counties also will be honored.
MS is a chronic, often disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system. The body's defense system damages the substance that surrounds and protects the nerve fibers of the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms may be mild, such as numbness in the limbs, or severe, such as paralysis or loss of vision.
Most people are typically diagnosed with MS between the ages of 20 and
40. Two thirds of those diagnosed are female. More than 300,000 Americans
have MS. For more information on MS, contact the National Multiple Sclerosis
Society at 1-800-FIGHT- MS or visit their Web site at www.nmss.org
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