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A&W’s Cruisin’ For MS supports a good cause

Cruisin' For MS dunktank

Dave D'Eon of the A&W Restaurant dressed in snorkel, goggles and flippers during his turn in the dunk tank at Cruisin' For MS.

A&W's Great Root Bear with MS Champion Samantha Sipes

When a member of her immediate family was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Samantha Sipes decided to get involved in the search for a cure.
Sipes has been volunteering with the Lethbridge chapter of the MS Society of Canada for six years, and in 2012 became an MS Champion.
As an MS Champion, Sipes’ role is to encourage more people to get involved with the society and its various activities.
“It’s great to volunteer and give back to the community,” Sipes said. “It’s for a good cause.”
Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system.
MS can cause loss of balance, impaired speech, extreme fatigue, double vision and paralysis.
An estimated 55,000-75,000 Canadians have multiple sclerosis.
“Usually people know someone who is affected,” Sipes said.
Sipes was in Fort Macleod on Thursday for the Cruisin’ For MS event hosted by the A&W Restaurant.
Dave D’Eon and the staff at A&W organized a full day of events including a dunk tank, live music, prize draws and vintage car show.
Sipes said Cruisin’ For MS events in Canada over the past four years have raised $2.1-million for the MS Society of Canada.
The event raised $750,000 last year, and a fund-raising goal of $1.5-million was set for 2012.
Multiple sclerosis most often diagnosed in people aged 15 to 40, but some children as young as two years of age have the disease.
MS is unpredictable, affecting vision, hearing, memory, balance and mobility. Its effects are physical, emotional, financial, and last a lifetime. There is no cure.
Sipes said there is varying awareness of MS among the public.
“Some people know what it is and some people don’t,” Sipes said.
That makes events such as Cruisin’ For MS important in terms of raising awareness and support for research.
According to the MS Society Web site, while the cause of MS is not known research points to a combination of environmental and genetic risk factors.
Canadians have one of the highest rates of multiple sclerosis in the world.
MS is not contagious or inherited, although the genetic influence on susceptibility is a major thrust of research supported by the MS Society of Canada and its Scientific Research Foundation.
Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada volunteers and staff provide information, support, educational events and other resources for people with MS and their families.
Researchers funded by the MS Society are working to develop new and better treatments and to find the cure for MS.
MS is not a fatal disease for the vast majority of people who are diagnosed.
The Lethbridge and district chapter of the MS Society provides support services, educational programs, information, referrals, social programs and advocacy to people in Lethbridge, Fort Macleod, Taber, Picture Butte, Vauxhall, Coaldale, Cardston, Milk River, Crowsnest Pass, Coutts and other communities.
There are a number of fund-raising events organized by the MS Society, including a walk, carnation sales, cabaret and the hit a ball campaign.
“I encourage young people to volunteer,” Samantha Sipes said

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