'MS is a challenge' taken one step at a time
The moment two years ago, when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, was unforgettable for Marilyn Schreier.
"My life stopped," she said. "My world ended. I was scared."
Schreier is this ambassador for this year's Walk MS, the annual walk to raise funds for people living with multiple sclerosis. It will be held May 4 at Soldiers Memorial Field.
An estimated 17,000 people in the Upper Midwest have MS, an unpredictable and often disabling disease of the central nervous system. The cause is unknown and the symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. Most people with the disease are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50. MS afflicts two to three times more women than men.
Schreier, a nurse, wife and mother of two children, also has a sister who has MS. Her daughter Anna nominated her to be ambassador.
In addition to walking the 1-mile route with her team "Making Strides for MS," Marilyn will have a booth at the walk to share her experience with the disease.
After learning about the disease and enlisting the help of family and friends to help with daily living when symptoms worsen, Marilyn has come to realize, "MS is not a death sentence. People live every day with this disease and don't let it take over their lives."
"MS is a challenge," she said. "I can start out having a good day, but if I have to do a lot of walking or computer work, my symptoms worsen. I tire more easily now and I have blurred vision and eye pain."
Marilyn said that being diagnosed and adjusting to life with MS has been "a roller coaster ride, but has been well worth it."
She said that it has brought her family closer together and has helped her to more deeply appreciate the little things in life.
Her daughter Anna agreed. She will be traveling home from Arizona just a day before the walk to support her mom by walking alongside her at the event.
"My mom's my best friend," Anna said. "MS has only brought us closer. It has helped us to become more thankful for what we have. We have also come to realize that time is limited and to give back to our community when we can."
Since her mom's diagnosis, Anna has become active in an Arizona chapter of the National MS Society, helping to arrange walks in her area as well.