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Mr. Normans MS Blog (Posted On: Monday, February 09, 2009)

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The Collingwood WALK for MS celebrates its 10th anniversary with the 2009 WALK on April 19th.

For more information phone: 1-800-268-7582. Or click here to register online.

April 17th....COUNTING ON YOU!

291 Registered Walkers.

33 Teams eager to go!

25,000 dollars pledged on-line.

27 dogs raring to Walk the Walk.

380 Juicy Jumbo Hot Dogs from Metro

380 cold bottles of Ice Spring Water.

150 delectable delights from M&M’s

150 delicious, mouthfuls from Danielle and Season of Culinary Design

300 bags of chips from Humpty Dumpty.

100 lbs of fruit courtesy of SanFilippo’s

25 large pizzas from Boston Pizza.

6 pounds of dog treats.

75 volunteers ready to register, serve you and direct you on the route.

75,000 Canadians dealing with Multiple Sclerosis.


April 11th - The Wall of Hope

This is Barb Dickson’s experience with the “Wall of Hope”….

There are many things that make an MS Walk memorable. One annual tradition I’d like to mention, in particular, touches me deeply, no matter how many times I experience it.  It’s the “Wall of Hope”.

As part of the registration package, each Walker is given a blank form and encouraged to write why they are walking in the MS Walk. Their responses are posted on the Wall of Hope. Every year, whether I’m walking or helping out behind the scenes, I spend time reading the confessions of hope and affection inscribed on those little slips of paper.

One year I was reading the Wall when I my gaze faltered over one of hundreds of declarations. “I’m walking for my Aunty Barb,” the note confessed. It was signed in a young girl’s hand, “Missy.”

My best friend, Lori and her family were walking that morning. Her children always referred to me as their Aunty Barb, although I hadn’t earned the title through blood.

I swallowed the lump growing in my throat. Lori's pre-teen daughter, Missy had tucked her hope for a cure for me in amongst the sea of others’ heartfelt wishes.

This Walk had, quite suddenly, become personal. Missy was walking for her Aunty Barb. Although still quite young, Missy understood the gravity and importance of her walk that Sunday morning.

To Missy, who is in the wild whirlwind that comes from preparing for her June wedding: I love you so much. I hope you know your walk for MS so many years ago has helped bring us to this point in MS history – where we are on the brink of a cure.

Missy, we WILL end MS.

Coming Events

Wednesday, April 15
Radio Interview at 97.7 the Beach – 9:10 a.m.
Mariane McLeod interviews Sherrill Ann Monaghan

Sunday April 19
Walk Day!
Registration begins at Collingwood Legion at 8:30 a.m.

Wednesday, May 6
McHappy Day at 4 area McDonald Stores
All proceeds go towards the MS Walk

April 8th - The Reilly Squad

Through my volunteer work for the MS Walk over the last 10 years, I have met many, many wonderful people.  Recently I had the privilege of meeting a beautiful young lady named Emilee.
This is her story…

My name is Emilee Bennett and I am 13 years old. I am the captain of the "Reilly Squad", a team of the children, grandchildren and extended family of Marlene Reilly who was diagnosed with MS in 1967.
Marlene Reilly or Ma as she was called by so many family and friends was my grandmother.  In 1952, her mother was diagnosed with MS. Back then little was known about the disease and Grandma progressed rapidly.  After getting married in 1954, Ma and Papa moved in to take care of her mother. In 1967, MS hit the family again when Ma was diagnosed with the disease. Dealing with her mother and now having to deal with it herself took a toll on the family but pulled them together to become closer and stronger.  Now MS has hit my family again.

About five years ago my Mom, Ma's daughter, started getting dizzy spells and loss of balance.  Knowing what it could be she finally went to the doctor and it was confirmed she also has MS.  This is where the genetic research is now helping families like mine try to understand why.
My team is helping to raise money to help other families like ours deal with this terrible disease.  LET'S FIND A CURE!!

Coming Events

Wednesday, April 15
Radio Interview at 97.7 The Beach
Sherill- Ann Monaghan interviewed by Mariane McLeod

Sunday, April 19
Walk Day!
Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. at Collingwood Legion

Wednesday, May 6
McHappy Day at 4 area McDonald’s Stores
8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

April 4th - Community Supporters

If you are planning to go out for dinner o n Wednesday, April 8, keep Boston Pizza in mind.  The restaurant is having a fund-raising night for Team Reilly where 10% of all food purchases goes to the Reilly’s team efforts to raise money for the MS Walk.  It will be a fun time and you will be helping a good cause.

Boston Pizza is only one of the many businesses that help our local Walk.  Saunders Book Company and Blue Mountain Honda have been major sponsors for a number of years and has been a tremendous supporter this year.  As well as being financially supportive of the Walk, Canadian Tire, Tim Hortons and Rona enter Teams in the Walk.  Many other businesses sponsor footprints or sponsor a kilometer sign along the Walk route.  This year M&M Meats, Sanfilippo’s, Old Dutch Foods, Design Caterers, Ice Springs and others are all supplying food for our Walkers.  I can’t leave out The Collingwood Legion who generously provides us with their facilities.

McDonald’s Restaurants are also supporting the Walk this year.  Wednesday, May 6 is McHappy Day across Canada.  The Collingwood MS Walk will receive all the profits from the four area McDonald stores.  It will be a fun day with games, clowns and magicians for the kids and entertainment for all ages.  Drew Wright will be at the Collingwood First Street location from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. 
Aren’t you glad you live in such a generous community? 

Make your step the one that ends multiple sclerosis at the BE A WALKER…BE AN END TO MS!

MS Walk.Coming Events

Tuesday, April 7
Radio Interview Chats Program the Peak FM
Lu Ann Reilly and Daughter Emilee

Wednesday, April 15
Radio Interview on Wasaga Beach Radio Station
Sherill Ann Monaghan

Sunday, April 19
Walk Day
Collingwood Legion
Registration begins at 8:30 – Walk begins at 10 a.m.

April 1, 2008  Tick Tock, Tick Tock…

With only three weeks to go, we have 28 Teams registered and 171 individuals.

On Walk day, I usually walk as an individual, chatting with folks along the route.  However, many people join a team and walk with their friends enjoying the wonderful spring morning and raising money for MS.  You can form your own team by registering yourself and 3 others and then have people sponsor you.  Below, you will find the teams and the contact person who have already registered for Walk 2009.  If you wish to join one of these teams, you may do so after you register, simply by choosing the Team MS option.

Learn more about MS and Walk2009 by clicking here

Barbara’s Buds – Martin Barlow                   Buckles Bunch – Sarah Buck
BURFAM – Bob Burgess                              Cameron Comets – Cameron Street School
Charlie’s Champions –  Katharine Dobson Clearview – Magda Schepers
Connaught Cuties – Joanne Calvert             End MS – H. Zandbelt
Generations – Kim Kruger Posen                 Half Fast Walkers – Russ Graham
Happy Feet – Samantha Harvey                   Harbourlands Probus – Beth Turner
IOOF/ Kiwanis – Kathy Vance                       It’s the Little Things – Laura Craig
Meridian – Kerri Sacerty                                Reilly Squad – Emilee Bennett
Team Tara – Jason Monck                           Team Danny – Jessie Paterson
Team Stayner – April Styles                         Team TD Canada Trust – Linda West
Team Trenster – Shantel Jungkind              The Jays – Thelma Horner
Turners – Wendy Lesaux                              Wonder Walkers – Joanna Campbell

Penny’s Pawz – Walmart Superstore of Wasaga Beach - Bonnie Elliot
Loblaws 1127 – Take it to the Top WALKERS – Tracy Graham
Scotia One Team One Goal – Joan Rainbird-Sharp

Coming Events

Wednesday, April 15
Radio Interview with Marian McLeod
at the Beach 97.7 fm

Saturday, April 18
Early Registration at the Collingwood Legion
10 a.m. to 12 noon

Sunday, April 19
Walk Day
Registration starts at 8:30 a.m.
Walk starts at 10 a.m.

Wednesday May 6
McHappy Day at 4 area locations
DREW WRIGHT will be at the First Street Location
from 11 a.m. till 1 p.m.
All proceeds towards the MS Walk

March 19th - WALKERS

So who walks in these things you may ask.  Well, let me try to answer that.

Each year Don Michalenko brings his Boy Scout troop. While they have won distinction for having the largest team or the best outfits, I think their WALKing with us shows the Scouts the value of community participation. 

The Cameron Street Comets have walked for many years to support Nancy Loveless, a teacher at the school with MS. 

Canadian Tire has put a team in the WALK the past couple of years, Team Trenster, to support Trent Hollingshead a terrific, young man who worked at the store for 5 years until MS forced him to retire.

Team Tara walks as a family in memory of their beautiful sister Tara whom they lost in 2001 to MS.

Team Checkers supports a teacher from Collingwood Collegiate and Kelsey’s Restaurant has entered a team to support one of their workers.

Casey Morrison is a participant each year.  He is with Team Riley.  They walk for their mother and grandmother.

The Scotia One Team from Scotia Bank has also been with us for years.  Their head office matches the money they raise in the Collingwood WALK.

Every April some of those who sit at the Town Council table WALK to show their support.  Our rather remarkable Deputy-Mayor, Sandra Cooper has been with us every year as has Councilor Edwards and his dog Hobo.

Wayne Hunwicks and Kathy Wilkinson have been jogging the WALK for years.  They even jogged the route the one year we had to cancel the WALK because of a severe thunder and lightning storm. Even though the WALK itself was cancelled, people showed up to drop off their pledge money.  Our final total that year amazingly showed little storm damage.

John Nichols and his charming wife Walk for a nephew with MS.  John was our Honourary Chairman for several years and also one of the top money-raisers.

Brenda Benson from E3 has walked for years and is always one of the top fund-raisers.

As a long time High-School teacher, I am always happy to see so many young people at the WALK.  They come to participate both as WALKERS and volunteers.  What’s the matter with kids today?  NOTHING!

Dogs!  Young and old, big and small, they come for the water, treats and a brisk walk on a lovely spring morning.

The very talented Julie Card from and Paul Richards from Collingwood Living show up each year and always post very beautiful pictures on their web sites.

As you can see, WALKers come from all parts of our community but we all share a common purpose…  a cure for MS.  Join us on Sunday, April 19th.  We would love to see you.  Registration is available on-line  or by calling 445-4508.

Upcoming events:

Scotia Bank Bake Sale

Saturday, April 18th
Early Registration for the MS Walk
Collingwood Legion
10 a.m. to 12 noon

Sunday, April 19th
The Walk starts at 10 a.m. at the Collingwood Legion
Registration starts at 8:30 a.m.

Wednesday, May 6th
McHappy Day at the 4 area McDonald Locations
8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
All proceeds towards the MS Walk

March 12, 2009 - A Team Effort…

CCI puts together a team of students and teachers in the Collingwood MS Walk. They walk in support of a young teacher at the school.  This is Tracy’s story.

 As a 34-year old woman, being diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis was not anything I could ever have imagined happening to me.  But it did, and now, two years later, I feel like the discovery was something that has made me stronger and thankful for who I am.

 It started one average morning when I woke up with pins and needles in right hand and arm that just did not go away.  I went to the doctor more than once and was told it was most likely a pinched nerve, or the beginning of carpal tunnel symptoms.  As the weeks went on, I lost the use of my right hand completely and was unable to control the hand or fingers.  With a push from my very supportive husband and friends, a decision was made to make the journey to Women's College Hospital in Toronto.  From there, I was referred to a neurologist, sent for an MRI and had the diagnosis, all within a two week frame.  I was put on prednisone for 12 days, which alleviated the pain in my hand and also gave me back the use of the hand and fingers.  I had the neurologist refer me to the MS Clinic at St. Michael's Hospital where I remain an active and grateful patient to this day.

 Along the way, I have spoken to and met many people who deal with MS on a daily basis.  It is such a "varied" disease, affecting everyone differently, and although I still have little feeling in my right hand, I can use it and feel lucky it has not progressed any further at this point in time.  Yes, there are days I feel fatigued but I am still getting to know if this is from the MS or if I'm just tired!  It has been a learning curve, not only for me, but for friends and family. We have all increased our vocabulary to include words like neurotransmitters, relapses, flare-ups and keep up to date on the "latest" discoveries into the disease.  

For now, the only thing to do is continue on the path my life is leading and enjoy it as I go.  Since no one knows what the future holds for any of us, taking the time to appreciate and explore what we do have can only make us better people.

Tracy Checkley

March 3, 2009 - The numbers are staggering

The numbers are staggering.  In 2008, Collingwood and area residents raised an incredible amount of money for various charities. These are just a few.

$114,000  -  MS WALK-2008
$175,000  -  Titz and Glitz
$440,000  -  G & M Hospital Tree of Life Campaign
$  41,000  -  The Peak FM’s Christmas Draw 
$  15,000  -  Optimist Club’s Mother of all Yard Sales
$  18,000  -  M & M’s Charity Barbeque
$140,000  - CIBC’s Run for the Cure
$  10,000  -  Terry Fox Run
$    6,000  -  Walk for Memorie

What a generous community!!!!

But what will 2009 bring for the MS WALK?   We are in tough, tough economic times.  People everywhere are finding it hard to make ends meet.  If it is a choice between feeding your family, paying your mortgage or making a donation to a charity, I think I know what my decision would be.  However, statistics indicate that when times are tough, Canadians amazingly step up to help the next guy.

Last year was a record for the Collingwood MS WALK.  We raised over $114,000.   The MS Society set $85,000 as our goal for 2009.  Will we do it?  Don’t know. Can’t say.    Our local committee is working hard to reach that goal. But, we need YOUR help!  Please, on April 19th at the Collingwood Legion, join the MS WALK and help us find a cure for MS.  Collingwood has always been generous.  We need you now more than ever. Register on-line at or call 445-4508.

Upcoming Events

Easter Bake Sale at Scotia Bank
Featuring Laura’s Raisin Pies

Sunday, April 19th, 10th Annual MS WALK
At Collingwood Legion

Wednesday, May 6th
McHappy Day at 4 area McDonald stores
Proceeds to MS WALK

February 23, 2009 - So This is What I Know…

I have been involved with the Collingwood MS WALK for 10 years, the first year as a volunteer and WALKer and the last 9 as a member of the Committee and a WALKer. People have come to know my association with MS and I am often asked about this most terrible disease. I am not an expert but this is what I know…

I know that MS seems to affect more women than men. It is usually found in young adults from 15 to 40 but has been diagnosed in some people as young as 2 or 3 years old. The disease is unpredictable, affecting vision, hearing, memory, balance and mobility. Every day there are 3 more people diagnosed with MS. There are between 55,000 and 75,000 people suffering from MS in Canada.

I know that MS patients and their families can get much needed help through the Simcoe County Branch of the MS Society in Barrie. It is located in the Cedar Pointe Plaza in Barrie. Their phone number is 733-0488 or you can e-mail them at . Their web site is . Here, you will find information about research, newsletters or scholarships for young teens that have a parent with MS.

I know that our amazing communities around the Georgian Bay area have raised close to $600,000 in the last 9 years to support MS patients and to fund much needed research. Stem cell research, use of vitamin D, enzymes that help to replenish myelin-making cells and new drugs are all part of the on-going studies to try to find a cure for MS.

I know that MS affects not only the individual but the whole family. I know that many wonderful, brave people in our commuity like Nancy, Pippa, Sherrill Ann, Debbie, Bob and Trent are dealing with this disease, all in their own way.

I know that we need YOU to walk on April 19, 2009. Walk as an individual. Walk with your dog. Walk with a friend. Walk as part of a team. Register at

I know that one day a cure will be found…… one joyous day!

Upcoming Events

Chats Program on The Peak FM – 95.1

Wednesday, February 25
Interview with Trent Hollingshead and John Eaton about MS

Saturday, February 28
Top-up Day for MS at Canadian Tire

Februray 13th, 2009

Many people who help organize the MS WALK right across Canada become involved because someone in their family or someone they know is suffering from MS.  I am no different.  I became involved when a former student of mine, Tara Monck, was diagnosed with MS when she was in her late teens.  In her last two years at Collingwood Collegiate Tara was having some health problems but Doctors attributed it to hypo-glycemia or stress. Tara graduated from Collingwood Collegiate and went off to University.  However, after 3 years of trying, she was unable to finish even one semester.  She had difficulty getting to class. Doctors didn’t know why she was having difficulty walking, seeing, and keeping food down.  She was finally determined to have MS.  It was quite a blow for her family, especially since the form of MS she had was extremely progressive.  This meant that her disabilities would only get worse.  She would not have any periods of remission.  This type of MS usually only affects men or women in their forties.  Tara was now in her early twenties.

I learned of her worsening condition through a story in the Enterprise Bulletin that stated that Tara would not last long unless she received a new drug that unfortunately was not covered by her Mother’s Insurance.  The community rallied and raised over $35,000 to help Tara and her Mother.

Sadly the drug had the opposite affect and Tara quickly became confined to a wheelchair and started to lose her sight even more rapidly.

I can’t imagine how she felt.  At a time when her friends were in University, starting new careers, starting a family, she was slowly dieing.  Her life became her bedroom.  She lost her ability to talk and eat.  Friends stopped coming around perhaps because they just didn’t want to tell her about their lives and future happiness or they found it difficult to talk to her because her responses were limited to a blink of her eyes.  The sad thing was that her mind was still active.  She just couldn’t communicate.  There was and still is no cure for MS.  Sadly, Tara passed away in November of 2001.  She was 29 only years old.

 Tara used to say, “We’re all in this together”.  I believe that together we will find a cure for MS, a most terrible disease.  Please WALK on April 19.

MS Interview on 97.7 FM the Wave
Tara’s sister, Kim Cleary and Gary Norman
9 a.m.  February 18th

MS Kick-Off Skating Party
Sunday, February 22nd
Central Park, Collingwood

February 5th, 2009

The WALK began in 2000 and was known then as the Collingwood/Loblaws MS Super Cities WALK. MS coordinator, Pamela Quirk, recruited a group to commence the planning.

This committee consisted Honourary Chairman, John Nichols, Jim Quirk, Chairman, Sheila Collins, Anita Hunter, Bob Steen, Angela McCormack and Donna Peacock. After several months of planning, the first WALK took place. 328 WALKers were registered and raised $42,719. John Nichols, the honourary Chair, raised in excess of $5000 of that amount.

Over the years, the WALK has reached a high of 952 WALKers in 2003 and in 2008 we raised $114,851. Our honourary chair for the past two year, Sherrill Ann Monaghan, raised over $10,000. During the past 10 years, the WALK has raised over $584,000 and close to 5000 participants walking to try to find a cure for MS. The funds raised from the WALK are distributed between research and the local Chapter in Simcoe County. Fifty percent of monies raised stays in Simcoe County to help support people with MS.

Year       Revenue          WALKers
2000      $ 42,719.00           328
2001      $ 58,742.00           521
2002      $ 69,229.82           803
2003      $ 56,955.00           952
2004      $ 56,772.00           548
2005      $ 56,190.00           516
2006      $ 61,943.00           452
2007      $ 64,085.18           354
2008      $ 114,851.87         391
Totals   $ 584,488.87       4865

The WALK committee itself has evolved over time and this year consists of Linda West, David De Ruiter, Marilyn McEachern, Sherrill Ann Monaghan, Claude Brazeau, Abby Stec, Mark Lapinski (MS coordinator), Anita Hunter, Sheila Collins and Gary Norman. The many volunteers who help out on WALK Day are too numerous to mention but it would not be as successful without them. We thank them many times over.

This year’s WALK will take place on Sunday, April 19th. The START/FINISH is the Collingwood Legion and the WALK is about 7-8 kilometers. WALKers will once again, be treated to a breakfast snack to start and will finish with a lunch.

For more information phone: 1-800-268-7582. Or click here to visit us online.

Upcoming MS Walk Events
Wednesday, February 18
97.7 interview between 9 and 10:00 a. m.


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