Walkers join up in fight against mystery malady

Sherene Clowers, center in green, walks with her team, the Shooting Stars, in the multiple sclerosis walk Saturday at Canyon View Park.

Sherene Clowers sometimes lets her 5-year-old daughter watch when she injects herself.

Clowers admits some people might think her daughter is too young to be exposed to something as potentially scary as medicine and disease. But Clowers doesn’t want to be treated differently because she has multiple sclerosis, especially by her only child.

“I don’t keep anything from her,” Clowers said. “I give her the truth. I’m not ashamed of it.”

Clowers is one of at least 400 people living with MS in Mesa County, said Tricia Pallatt of the National MS Society’s Grand Junction chapter. There likely are more people diagnosed with MS in the county than Pallatt is aware of, she added.

In an effort to raise awareness about the disease locally, and in an effort to raise funds for continued research about the potentially debilitating disease, an estimated 350 people came together Saturday at Canyon View Park for the 2010 Wells Fargo Walk MS Grand Junction event.

The three-mile walk is one of nine MS walks held in the state, Pallatt said. She hoped Saturday’s event would raise $35,000 to go to local programs and the National MS Society for continued research.

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord by eating away at the protective sheaths that cover the body’s nerves. This process interferes with the communication between the brain and the body.

There is no cure, and there is no known cause.

“I must say, the community has come alive for this (walk),” Pallatt said.

One team that took its fundraising role for the MS walk seriously was Clowers’ Shooting Stars team. Clowers is a purchaser for West Star Aviation and teamed up with co-workers, family and friends to raise more than $4,000 for Saturday’s event.

Clowers said her employer and colleagues have been supportive since her diagnosis in March 2007. The disease hasn’t taken hold of her body, and it’s unclear if or when it will, because MS affects individuals so differently, Clowers said.

Although MS hasn’t stripped Clowers of her ability to walk or do her full-time job, that doesn’t mean Clowers ignores the impact MS has had and could have on her daughter, her husband and her life.

“I’ve dealt with it,” Clowers said. “I know it’s what I have. There is nothing I can do, so I don’t let it consume my life.”

Clowers attributes her ability to live with MS to her positive attitude, support system and the Copaxone medication she takes daily via injection.

Continued research into a cause and cure, as well as advances in medicine, is why events such as Saturday’s happen across the country, Pallatt said. She hopes one day the MS Society will no longer be needed.

“It would be great to close up shop and be done and be finished,” Pallatt said.


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