Red Deer Multiple Sclerosis Walk draws crowd, support for research

Her Multiple Sclerosis may have put her in a chair, but Philippa Brysiuk’s spirit was indomitable as she spoke about her battle.

Diagnosed on Feb. 2, 2002, she told the crowd at the MS Walk Sunday morning about her commitment to raising funds in support of research.

“In the past few years it’s started to go a bit downhill,” she said. “I’ve lost the reliable use of my legs and the fatigue is taking over. I have to take constant rest breaks.”

In 16 years, Brysiuk and her team Memory Lapses, have raised $110,000 and since 2008 years they have raised $10,000 each year.

“So far,” she said. “No end in sight. The good news is, in 2007 we were the number one fundraising team with $6,000. In five years, we were number one with around $10,000. After that we were dethroned and that was great. We were number three at $10,000.

“I would like to be 10th at $10,000. If we could do that, if we could inspire everybody to raise as much as they can.”

A team called Becky’s Bombshells usurped Memory Lapses’ reign on top. This year, Becky’s Bombshells raised $12,940 in just online donations, again earning the top fundraising spot.

She said her team has incredible support from many people in her life.

“I would like MS to be something everybody has heard about, but nobody knows who has it,” said Brysiuk.

The Red Deer Royals marching band led the walk, which was either two or five kms long depending on a participant’s preference.

Kim Mortimer, development coordinator Central Alberta Chapter of the MS Society of Canada , said they had about 260 people participate in the walk.

According to their online donations they had raised $61,000, but Mortimer said that number should increase significantly with donations made on Sunday. The goal for the walk was to raise about $100,000.

Though the walk was a happy occasion, Brysiuk continues to live with MS and is grateful for the support she has around her.

“It’s extremely frustrating,” said Brysiuk. “I would love to have my life back. But my grandchildren, my kids, my family are incredibly helpful.”

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