March: Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month


Baldwin Wallace Graduate Kali Dye with her mother Sue Dye at the Dinner of Champions. Photo Credit: Guyla Wehman

In March of 2006, the State of Ohio designated the month of March as Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month.
The vision of The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is a world free of Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
The mission is to mobilize people and resources to drive research for a cure and to address the challenges of everyone affected by MS.
MS is an unpredictable, neurological disease that affects 400,000 people in the U.S. It interrupts the flow of information between the brain and the rest of the body and stops people from moving.
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society Ohio Buckeye chapter offers opportunities and resources to help raise MS awareness.

BW Graduate Kali Dye

Kali Dye, BW graduate of 2008, majored in middle childhood education (4-9) with a focus in math and science, and is currently a 6th grade teacher at Rocky River Middle School and the Head swimming and diving coach for Rocky River High School. “I was on the varsity swim team, a member of Alpha Phi sorority, a VP on Panhellenic, an orientation leader and worked in the OCO for a period of time,” Dye said.
Kali was diagnosed with MS at the beginning of her sophomore year of college when she was 19. “ I actually received the diagnosis news when I was at dinner at the Union with a bunch of my sorority sisters. I had a very tough decision in regards to continuing my swimming career at BW and after consulting with my doctors, they said they supported
any decision I made. So I decided to continue swimming and ended up being captain of the team my senior year,” Dye said.
Some of the symptoms Kali encountered during her relapse were the limited abilities to use her hands and arms. “My hands lacked any coordination and I could only type with my left hand. For swim practice, my sister, who was a senior on the swim team at the time, had to put my hair up in a pony tail for me because my hands just wouldn’t work. These disabilities that I faced were probably the most frustrating experiences I have ever gone through and were so difficult to explain to people. Things were not how they used to be,” Dye said.
After several rounds of treatment Kali regained full use of her arms and hands. “After college life, I began teaching and coaching and faced additional relapses that affected my legs. Often times relapses have occurred in the middle of the winter but fortunately have regained most of my normal function back,” Dye said.
Kali has been involved in the MS Pedal to the Point for four years. “Our team, Ryde or Dye, bikes in honor of me and my mom who both suffer from MS,” Dye said. Over the years the team has been comprised of friends, family members, and co-workers. “Some years we have done the 75 mile ride and other years we have done the 150 mile ride. As a person with MS it gives me hope to see just how many people are supporting those of us who suffer from the disease,” said Dye.
Fundraising efforts such as Walk MS, Bike MS, Run MS, and the Dinner of Champions help to fund programs and MS related research. “After having been affected by the disease, after watching my struggle with it and then having to go through the disease myself it is so important that we continue to do research on the disease and give those of us
with MS hope that there will someday be a cure,” Dye said.

MS Awareness Month
Guyla Wehman has been a part of The National MS Society Buckeye
Chapter for 19 years and works with Communications Coordinating,
PSA’s, and fundraising to raise awareness.
The National MS society helps by being a driving force for MS research and raises money to support MS research through special events, advocates for funding research and educates the public about research and research trials. “Every year we strive to educate people about MS, and the community is wonderful with volunteer work,” Wehman said.
The Ohio Buckeye chapter also works with other chapters. “State Advocacy & Awareness Day at the Columbus statehouse is a statewide effort where all chapters go to Columbus to meet with legislators to educate them about MS,” Wehman said.
The National MS Society addresses the challenges of each person affected by MS, and The Ohio Buckeye Chapter is driven to serve the constantly changing needs of those affected by MS. More than 2.1 million people are affected by MS worldwide, and in Ohio, there are more than 20,000 people with MS.
A variety of events are offered to help raise awareness: March 1 – An Orange & White Affair Art Exhibit & Auction, Lakewood, March 7 – An Orange & White Affair Art Exhibit & Auction, Columbus, March 13 – Emerging Therapies in MS Program, New Philadelphia, March 14 – Moving Forward Program for Newly Diagnosed, Akron March 19 – State Advocacy & Awareness Day, Columbus Statehouse, March 30 – Jumpstart in Motion Wellness Program, Boardman, Walk MS April 13 (Cleveland) April 19 (McConnelsville) April 20 (Athens, Columbus, Lancaster, Newark) April 27 (Mahoning Valley, Massillon, Mentor, North Canton, Wooster) April 28 (Akron).
“We have so many different programs such as education programs, transportation, home modifications, and counseling, which helps people become more knowledgeable about the disease as well as move forward and work towards a sense of independency,” Wehman said.