Locals Share Their Challenging Journey with MS

Created: 05/04/2014 6:32 PM
By: Hannah Tran

 (ABC 6 News) -- There are many community walks throughout the year that raise awareness on diseases like diabetes or breast cancer.

But at Rochester and Austin's Multiple Sclerosis Walk, doing the walk itself wasn't an option for many attendees.

At Rochester's MS Walk Sunday morning, a large family wore T-shirts printed with the name Kelly.

Sitting on a bench in front of the group was a woman. While holding onto a cane, she introduced herself, saying, "my name is Kelly, I have MS."

Kelly Parish has done the annual MS Walk in Rochester in the past, but this year she had to sit out. The disease has progressed.

"The biggest thing with MS is that you never know what it's going to look like or what it's going to do," said Parish.

Or when. Multiple sclerosis took hold of 27-year-old Lindsey Jordan of Austin when she was only 19. "I lost eyesight in my left eye, I was basically blind," said Jordan.

It's a challenge to push her child's stroller, but 91-year-old Bernie Wendel's child is no longer with him. "Bernie lost his daughter to MS," said friend Margaret Johnson. Johnson says his older son also suffers from the disease.

Bernie and Lindsay were at Austin's MS Walk, the same day as Rochester's. It's an unpredictable and disabling disease of the central nervous system.

"I can't write, because my hands shake too bad," said Kim Bellrichard of Austin. She's had MS for decades. "It steadily goes downhill, especially my leg, I can't really walk," she said.

But her husband's support throughout the years has pushed her forward. "He stuck by me since the day I had it."

For Kelly Parish, family has empowered her like nothing else as well.

"Oh, it's huge," said Parish.

Whatever name was printed on the shirts of Rochester and Austin residents at their MS Walk, each had a similar message in their hearts: to carry friends and families and lift their spirits.

Funds raised from both walks will go to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

The Upper Midwest Chapter, which includes southern Minnesota, has more than 17 thousand people with MS alone. 

Locals share their stories of hope and challenges with MS.