More MS news articles for Sep 2001

MS Walk is personal for Burlington nurse

Local News: 9/12/2001
By Gretchen Cleland
The Hawk Eye

Patty Chacey won't walk in Burlington's Second Annual MS Walk on Sunday, but she'll raise as much money as she can for the cause and plans to be there helping out.

The walk is set to begin at 1 p.m. Sunday at the large shelter house in Crapo Park. Registration starts at noon at the shelter house.

Chacey, a nurse in Burlington for the last 25 years, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis almost 17 years ago. Her twin sister, Paula, was diagnosed with the disease in May. Multiple sclerosis is a disease that randomly attacks the central nervous system.

Since her diagnosis Chacey has worked against the debilitating disease each day. She goes to work at Pediatric Associates every day, and though she can no longer conduct the duties of head nurse that she used to, she treasures the work she does and says it keeps her going.

"I don't want to stay home, I want to work as long as I can," Chacey said. "I've gone from an active head nurse to doing a lot of phone triage, but I still get up and go every day -- it's important to me to stay active."

One of the ways Chacey stays active is by staying involved with local multiple sclerosis events and support groups. She said she had always wanted to be involved in such things, but until recently there weren't any such groups in Burlington. Then came last year's Christopher & Banks MS Walk.

Chacey said last year's walk, the first in southeast Iowa, earned $15,000 for multiple sclerosis research. Organizers were presented with the "Rookie of the Year" award for first-time events at the Iowa chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society's annual meeting in Des Moines.

"This year we're just hoping to top that amount," Chacey said.

After last year's walk Chacey and a few other local folks, whose lives had been affected by the disease, whether directly or through a relative, decided to get more involved with multiple sclerosis support. Through a statewide training program, Chacey and the others were able to view several training tapes before meeting with state-level multiple sclerosis workers to get a support group started locally. The group, which has been up and running since February, meets at Great River Medical Center on the fourth Tuesday of each month.

Chacey said the group discusses any topic that needs to be addressed. They also do aquatherapy. But most of the time there's just a lot of talking.

"We give a lot of emotional support to a lot of people," Chacey said. "Most of the time people just want to get together and talk."

Chacey said the annual MS Walk is not only an important tool with which to raise money, it is also a great way to raise awareness about the disease.

"It's important to spread the word -- so many people have hidden symptoms and may not even know they have the disease," Chacey said. "Research is also important. Over the time I've had the disease, so many new medicines and treatments have been introduced -- money from these walks makes those things happen."

Chacey said most, if not all, of the money raised at Sunday's walk will stay in the state. While some folks have been out collecting pledges for the walk, Chacey said folks are welcome to just show up at the big shelter house in Crapo Park Sunday ready to walk. The 3-mile walk is handicapped-accessible and strollers and scooters are welcome for those who need them.

"We just want to get as many people walking and raising money for the cause as we can," Chacey said. "This is just like any other disease; you hope if you raise enough money you'll be normal again."