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MS Walk for the cure

Comanche County_Hundreds of thousands of Americans have Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and many more may suffer from the illness and not know it.  Symptoms of the disease include numbness and weakness in the arms and legs, poor vision and balance, and in some extreme cases, it can even lead to paralysis.  There is no cure, but researchers have developed medication which helps many people with MS get back to their normal lives.

Tom Trimpka runs the Fisherman's Cove restaurant with his wife Denise.  He doesn't take walking for granted.  Tom was diagnosed with MS in 1987.  "[It] started out with a numbness in the left foot," he says.  "Then it moved to the left hand.  Then it receded.  And, then it would come back.  About the time you'd think there's nothing wrong, you know, here we come again."

Tom got worse, and found himself unable to walk, or stand - nearly unable to work.  "The restaurant business is tough," he says.  "You're on your feet 12-16 hours a day."  But, Tom didn't let his inability to walk stop him.  "In 1997 I was in a scooter, here in the restaurant, I was scooting around," he says. 

With medication, Tom got better.  But, MS is still a big part of their lives.  "It's very scary because MS is such an unpredictable disease," he says.  "You don't know what's going to happen in the morning.  You don't know if you're not going to be able to walk." 

So, the MS Walk is very important to the Trimpas, who use their Comanche County restaurant to spread awareness.  In 2006, the Oklahoma Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society honored Denise with the Oklahoma Champion Award for raising over $100,000 for MS research.  Denise had no ideas she had raised that much money.  "I don't tally numbers, I just get out there and do what I need to do," she says.

Tom keeps running the family restaurant, and his medication continues to help.  "I'm doing wonderful," he says.  "The Lord's been good to me and my family, and the community.  We thank them so much." 

Saturday, March 29 is an MS Walk to raise money for research for a cure.  Over 200 people participated last year, and they're expecting even more than that this year.  The Lawton MS Walk is a two-mile event at Elmer Thomas Park in Lawton.  Registration starts at 8:30 a.m., and the walk starts at 9:30 a.m.  It's not a race, though.  Participants walk together to show unity in moving toward a cure.  If you would like to participate, please visit www.oke.nationalmssociety.org/.

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