As part of the effort to raise awareness about MS, Rochester's City Hall will be lit up orange. Mayor Tom Richards joined members of the National MS Upstate Chapter Monday morning to talk about the importance of the initiative. "I have personal friends who have suffered from MS, so I know what it can mean and what it can mean to people who have to live with it," he said.
Tisha Sarnowski of East Irondequoit is one of 2,700 people in the greater Rochester area living with MS. She was diagnosed with the disease at 24. "I think I cried at that point in time and from there it was treatment options," she said.
Multiple scerlosis attacks the central nervous system, interrupting flow of information from the brain to the body. "Being diagnosed early gave me the benefit of having treatment options," said Sarnowski.
There is no cure for MS, but Sarnowski says raising awareness about the disease has helped improve her treatments. When she was first diagnosed, Sarnowski received daily injections. Today, she goes for and IV treatment once a month. In the last 10 years she has pursued a nursing career and started a family. Sarnowski is the proud mother of an 18 month old daughter. "That support, emotional support is huge through the MS Society," she said.
During MS Awareness Week, the National MS Society offers programs to help people learn more about the disease and also offers sources of support for those newly diagnosed and those living with MS. In addition to the orange theme at Rochester's City Hall, there will be a number of other local events:
March 11-17: RAMS East Social Support Group will have a paper quilt on display at the Webster Community Center, 1350 Chiyoda Drive in Webster. The theme of the quilt is The Color of MS for Me.
March 13: Stretch and Strength for MS - Increasing muscle flexibility and strength can help improve coordination, balance, and endurance in people living with MS. This class is at the Pieters Family Life Center, 1024 Commons Way in Rochester from noon to 1 p.m.
March 15: The 3rd annual On the Move Luncheon will be held at Locust Hill Country Club in Pittsford at noon. It will honor ten people/groups from the greater Rochester area who are champions in the MS movement.
March 16: "Pedal for MS" will be held at Marketplace Mall from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Bike MS team members will be pedaling on behalf of clients with MS in Upstate New York. Visitors to the mall will get a chance to sign up and pedal too. They can also pick up informational brochures about MS and the chapter's programs and services.
March 16: Stretch and Go is an exercise class focusing on gentle yoga and theraputic exercise for people living with MS. It will be held at the Pieters Family Life Center from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
The annual MS walk will be held May 5 in Genesee Valley Park. For more information about MS, and to help Tisha Sarnowski raise money during the walk, click here.
Once you're on the site - click on events, put in Rochester's zip code, find the Rochester walk and then click on the donate tab. Sarnowski's team is called "Wake and Walk."