Two women in Plumas County have made it their mission to make sure the rest of us become aware of a debilitating disease they both have: multiple sclerosis — Kimberly Carroll and Karisa Joseph.
March is multiple sclerosis awareness month and both have events coming up this spring to bring their struggles home to Plumas County and to raise both awareness and funding for research and a cure.
According to its website, the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation estimates that more than 400,000 people in the U.S. and about 2.5 million people around the world have MS. About 200 new cases are diagnosed each week in the U.S. Rates of MS are higher farther from the equator. The prevalence for MS to strike in the Northern Hemisphere immediately red flags it for more in-depth research and for Carroll and Joseph, a search for a cure.
If you’ve met either of these vibrant women, you know that some days it seems like they can do a million things at once — and other days they experience severe fatigue and are virtually immobilized.
“Multiple Sclerosis is a nerve disorder caused by destruction of the insulating layer surrounding neurons in the brain and spinal cord. This insulation, called myelin, helps electrical signals pass quickly and smoothly between the brain and the rest of the body. When the myelin is destroyed, nerve messages are sent more slowly and less efficiently. Patches of scar tissue, called plaques, form overthe affected areas, further disrupting nerve communication,” according to the National MS Society website.
When the brain and spinal cord nerves do not communicate with other parts of the body, as they are supposed to, symptoms begin to occur. It can be a host of symptoms affecting vision, balance, strength, sensation, coordination, and bodily functions, according to the website.
In their own way, each woman is tackling that drive for research and funding for a cure.
Carroll started the Main Street Girls for MS Awareness in Quincy a few years ago after she was diagnosed with MS. According to Carroll, Main Street Girls is “a fun loving group of women that work together to raise donations and awareness for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.”
Along with walking in local and regional parades, the Main Street Girls also host painting nights, wine tastings and other small events to raise money and keep MS in the public eye.
Coming up this spring, Carroll has a small fundraising event on March 30 in the lounge at Main Street Bar in downtown Quincy. Main Street Girls will run concessions for the Listen to Your Mother Show at the Town Hall Theatre on May 20. They will also be having a few wine tasting fundraisers and be working a table at the Running with the Bears Marathon in Greenville in August.
Carroll also created a Facebook page for the Main Street Girls, which posts information on the MS Society, article links for people to read first hand accounts from others suffering from MS and inspirational posts for her fellow sufferers not to give up hope. For more information about the group, she encourages people to check it out.
In Indian Valley, the loud voice for MS belongs to Karisa Joseph. She and her family and friends participate in the annual walk in Reno/Sparks for MS awareness and fundraising for a cure.
“We raised a little more than $7,000 last year and hope to hit $8,000 this year,” said Joseph.
Team Joseph is also hosting a small painting night at the Taylorsville Tavern again this year in the next couple of weeks to raise funds for Team Joseph and the 2017 Walk MS being held in Reno on April 29.
Information about their walk can be found on the national MS Society webpage: main.nationalmssociety.org/ or from Joseph at [email protected].