BY MARCUS DAY
For many years John Henrion walked the walk in the fight against multiple sclerosis … even if that meant doing so from a wheelchair.
Although he didn’t have the disease, some family members did, which inspired his passion to help find a cure.
Sadly this year, Henrion, who passed away in February, will be present only in spirit in the annual Saskatchewan Blue Cross MS Walk in Eastend on Sunday, May 5.
He will also be in walkers’ minds as they step out in his honour.
“He was a very special man,” said Bonnie Gleim, who started the Eastend walks 21 years ago after receiving a diagnosis of MS. “His grandson and son will be taking part in the walk this year.”
The MS Walk sees thousands of people from coast to coast stand up against MS every spring and show support for those affected by an unpredictable and often disabling disease.
Eastend is one of nine communities in Saskatchewan taking part. The others are Battlefords, Melfort, Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, Regina, Saskatoon, Swift Current and Yorkton.
The walk is an important fundraiser and a chance to raise awareness of MS.
Over the past two decades the southwest has raised $539,000 for research and client services.
Significant advances have been made, including 15 disease-modifying therapies now available to Canadians living with relapsing-remitting MS.
In Saskatchewan, there are now two MS specialists compared to none three years ago. The province also has a new MS clinic director and a clinical MS research chairperson.
This means better care and more opportunities for patients to take part in research.
Visit the MS Society of Canada website at mssociety.ca for more information.
Gleim said the Eastend walk attracted people from all over the area, including Maple Creek, Shaunavon and Gull Lake.
Last year close to 50 people took part and just over $30,000 was raised, predominantly through pledges.
T-shirts are available for those who raise at least $125.
The walk, traditionally headed by the Eastend Fire Department. starts and finishes at the Eastend Rink Complex.
Check-in time is 1pm, the start time is 2pm.
Afterwards, hot dogs and snacks are provided for walkers.
“The walk is about three blocks, although sometimes people take a shortcut if they get tired,” said Gleim, who receives help from family and friends with the organization, including registration, set-up and clean-up.
Gleim’s daughter Madison has become a regular MS fundraiser, showing that your are never too young to get involved.