For this year’s MS Walk, I decided to take action a little differently. I began in 2020. Even though I can’t properly walk, I want to participate in this event and advocate for the MS and all disabled people by riding my mobility device in the shape of MS and also honouring old friends of the community, Jim Fowlie and MS Afflicted local contacts who inspired many in their MS journey including me. Jim was one of the first people to be diagnosed with MS in Prince George in the late 1960s, early 70s. Jim had a disability which prevented walking, and he rolled around the non-accessible sidewalks with his MS. He also endured rough streets, the non-accessible housing, sidewalks and businesses of Prince George with much to teach about accessibility.
It was his comrades and continuous presence that helped inspire the city of Prince George to think about access and inclusion and even inspired the MS Society to come to Prince George. Jim had passed away by 2001 and now these streets that I will be rolling through with my scooter in the MS shape were fully accessible before 2021. Part of the ‘M’ will pass that building at 490 Dominion Street, where the MS Society of Canada Chapter office sat for a couple of decades. There is still a long way to go in terms of inclusion and accessibility.
I would like to do this event annually to raise awareness and funds for neurological research and contribute to a trust fund for supporting people with many disabilities. I'm simply following in the path of the MS affected persons before me and all who can now follow with every condition classed as ‘disabled’ through the volunteer city of Prince George. Who knows what the future holds? But we all know that we can make a difference, by being who we are collectively and inspiring each other to continue advocating for accessibility and inclusion. I foresee that grid being developed with LED lights in the sidewalk. They could be powered by the sun, wind or a combination of energy collected and distributed to the buildings. Artists and groups having support walks, sports teams, advertising could use the lights. Attractants for businesses in the core directing into a store for a sale. That’s in some predictable future we could help all make happen, with the city’s support. Might take an MS’r like me to inspire it. Please, consider donating any amount to our Fundraising team, not related at present to that dream of ‘lighting the sidewalk’:
Canadians have one of the highest rates of MS in the world, and on average, they diagnose 11 Canadians with this unpredictable illness every day. We don’t know what causes MS, and we don’t have a cure. Yet. This year may look different, but I am taking part in the virtual MS Walk because I want to support the world’s leading researchers to discover the cause, treatments and cure for MS. Leading-edge research and support programs have improved the quality of life for people affected by MS. And the need for information, resources and support programs for people affected by MS is as urgent and critical as ever. When you make a donation to my fundraising, you are helping continue this necessary work. Thank you for supporting our virtual MS Walk community. We wouldn’t be where we are today without your support.