Walkers join fight against MS at Antietam

April 21, 2007|By DON AINES

Being diagnosed four years ago with multiple sclerosis changed Jessica Potter's life in more ways than one.

"I switched careers," the 28-year-old Hancock woman said Saturday morning before the annual MS Walk began at Antietam National Battlefield.

Having worked in insurance before the diagnosis, Potter now is the community development coordinator for the Western Maryland chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

"I just find it a very uplifting career ... I feel like I'm helping people make a difference," Potter said.

About 600 other people wanting to make a difference joined her Saturday for the three- and five-mile walks through the battlefield, raising approximately $67,000, said Amanda Glenn, marketing director for the Maryland chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

The money raised will be used to fund research, treatment and services, Potter said. About 400,000 people nationwide, including 5,000 in Maryland, have MS, a chronic disease of the central nervous system, Glenn said.


"I was in denial. My children were 1 and 4 (years old) and I thought, 'This can't happen to me,'" Carole Carbaugh, 49, of Hagerstown said, recalling when she was diagnosed 11 years ago. The registered nurse said, however, that life goes on.

"I just live every day with the changes to maintain my quality of life," Carbaugh said. "I just thank God every day for what I'm able to do."

Carbaugh had a lot of supporters at the walk. Seventeen people wore red T-shirts reading "Carole's Crew."

Team Martin's probably had the biggest crew at the walk, with team members identifiable by their green T-shirts. Lisa Sherwood, hiring manager at Martin's Food Market in Waynesboro, Pa., said they recruited about 100 employees, spouses, family members and Boy Scouts for this year's team.

"Last year, we walked in the rain, so this is nice," Sherwood said of the cloudless sky and warmer weather.

This year's walk was dedicated to the family of Tom and Elaine Scrivener, who started the walk in Washington County in the 1990s, Glenn said. Ginny Scrivener said the family became involved because she had a brother with the disease.

As with Potter and Carbaugh, Glenn said the disease usually strikes people in their prime, between the ages of 20 and 50.

Last year, the Maryland chapter raised more $1.2 million through a dozen walks and other events, the first time it ever raised more $1 million, Glenn said. The goal this year is to raise $1.5 million, she said.

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