Saturday January 15, 2011

Community Event

Fundraiser To Benefit Local Man With MS

New treatment is only available in the US

Submitted by Margaret Kostrzewa


here will be a fundraiser February 26th for Blair Plumridge, a Chilliwack woman who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis. There is treatment available in the US which could help him however, he needs to raise money to pay for it.


The evening features a buffet prime rib dinner with all the fixings, entertainment by Essence of Elvis Jeff Bodner, Men in Black Daryl Weyman and JAMBOX Calvin Rempel. There will also be an auction.


The fundraiser will be at Evergreen Hall on Spadina Ave. Doors open at 6:30pm, dinner is at 7pm. Tickets are $25.00 each and can be purchased at Fraser Valley Meats (Chilliwack and Sardis Stores), Hofstede’s Country Barn on Luckakuck and the Chilliwack Progress on Spadina Ave.


For more information call Margaret at: 604-798-3652


Some background on Blair and MS.

Who Am I?

My name is Blair Plumridge. I am 46 years old, and I am married to Bernadene. We have no children and I have had MS since at least 1997. My first definable attack occurred 2 weeks after our wedding and caused me to lose approximately 60% of the vision in my left eye. I recovered, and seemed to be fine until 2000 when I again lost my vision. This time I was referred to a neurologist at the MS Clinic at UBC. There I was formally diagnosed with the Relapsing Remitting form of MS. Over the years following I suffered small relapses and I was re-diagnosed with the Secondary Progressive form of the disease. This meant that instead of large relapses I was instead steadily getting worse. I was self-employed at that time doing accounting work, and was gradually being forced to lessen my workload until finally at the end of 2008 I was forced to close my business and take Canada Pension Disability benefits.


How MS Affects Me

My biggest issues are fatigue (sometimes overwhelming) and weakness / numbness in my left arm and leg. I usually wake up feeling tired and this only worsens as I try to go about my day. The problems with my left arm and leg have resulted in my having limited use and feeling in my left hand and I suffer from a condition called foot-drop that causes my left foot to drag when I walk. I must use a cane or a walker to help me walk even short distances, and longer travels require the use of a wheelchair. I am very susceptible to increases in temperature – even an increase of 1 to 2 degrees can have a negative impact on my functioning. Needless to say, hot showers are a thing of the past! My fatigue also makes it difficult at times to stay focused on a task. All of this has led me to feelings of helplessness and desperation regarding my situation as I do not feel like the productive member of society that I had always strived to be.


What's Next

The cause of MS not known, and there is no cure at this time. There is a procedure that is showing promise in helping to alleviate some of the symptoms, but it is not yet available in Canada. It is available overseas and, only recently, in the United States as well. Unfortunately it is not covered by our Provincial Health Plan and is fairly costly. There is no guarantee that it would prove effective in my particular situation, but I am at the point where I would be willing to try just about anything rather than just wait for what appears to be an inevitable slow decline.

What Is Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis (or MS) is a chronic, often disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system (CNS), which is made up of the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. Symptoms may be mild, such as numbness in the limbs, or severe, such as paralysis or loss of vision. The progress, severity, and specific symptoms of MS are unpredictable and vary from one person to another.

In Multiple Sclerosis, damage to the myelin in the central nervous system (CNS), and to the nerve fibers themselves, interferes with the transmission of nerve signals between the brain and spinal cord and other parts of the body. This disruption of nerve signals produces the primary symptoms of MS, which vary depending on where the damage has occurred.

MS is thought to be an autoimmune disorder. This means the immune system incorrectly attacks the person’s healthy tissue. MS can cause blurred vision, loss of balance, poor coordination, slurred speech, tremors, numbness, extreme fatigue, problems with memory and concentration, loss of balance / coordination, paralysis, vision problems and more. These problems may be permanent or may come and go.

Canadians have one of the highest rates of multiple sclerosis in the world. Every day, three more people in Canada are diagnosed with MS.


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