The diagnosis of two family members with Multiple Sclerosis has brought the reality of the incurable disease close to home for two Mooroopna friends.
Sharynn Hallowes and Patsy Young now aim to bring the community together for an MS Walkathon around Victoria Park Lake to raise research funds and create awareness for the debilitating disease.
Mrs Hallowes' daughter Jaye, 27, was diagnosed exactly a year ago.
“I remember because it was just before Grand Final day,” she said.
“She complained of blurred vision and numbness in her left leg. We had her checked out and she had MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging scans) and that's when she got the news,” Mrs Hallowes said.
She said her daughter still manages to work as a business analyst at Goulburn Murray Water.
Mrs Young said her niece Heidi, 44, had lived with the neurological disease for about five years.
“She had to give up her job as a nurse at GV Health. Nothing seems to be working for her at the moment. She has fatigue and chronic pain and she is sometimes forgetful,” Mrs Young said.
The two friends have now teamed up with the support of MS Victoria, Greater Shepparton City Council and Shepparton community groups to organise next month's MS Walkathon.
The pair wants to raise $10 000 for MS Victoria and will be out in the community in the lead-up to the walkathon selling raffle tickets at $5 each or three for $10.
Among six prizes will be a night's accommodation and breakfast for four people at Wrap hotel on Melbourne's Southbank.
They said walkers would be supported with a sausage sizzle and a Shepparton Search and Rescue team would be on hand to provide fruit and water at rest stops along the route.
Walkers are being asked to wear red or orange.
Shepparton identity Craig (Whiskers) Veysey will MC proceedings, and the Kiwanis Club of Mooroopna will man a barbecue.
“We're hoping the community will get behind us. We've met so many people and heard their stories. We've learnt more about this disease and people's stories are amazing - a lot suffer in silence,” Mrs Young said.
The 1.75km Shepparton MS Walkathon is on Saturday, October 19, at Victoria Park Lake. Registrations from 9.30am, with the walkathon starting at 10.30am.
Multiple Sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system that interferes with nerve impulses within the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves.
1 in 3 Australians are directly impacted through a diagnosed family member, friend or colleague.
The most common symptoms of MS are fatigue, pain, bladder and bowel issues, spasiticity, vision problems, cognitive fog and changes in emotion.
There are more than 25,600 people living with MS in Australia and 75 per cent are women.
There is no known cure for MS.
More information at www.ms.org.au