James Purdy is doing some reflecting as the May 12th Lakeland MS Walk approaches. This year mark’s the tenth year since he was diagnosed with MS. It’s not a group he wanted to be a part of, but it’s a group he’s been helping through fundraising and support. Over the past ten years, through his MS Walk group, MS AIN’T PURDY, has raised $422,603.
When he was first diagnosed, in August of 2008, he and wife Terina had just moved to a farm outside of Bonnyville. They had also just welcomed their first child into the world, Griffin.
“We knew very little about this disease and were very worried what it all was going to mean for me and our family,” James said a lot of the unknowns were answered through the Lakeland MS Society.
“MS is very unpredictable and effects everyone differently but my involvement with the MS Society has helped me navigate the disease symptoms and different treatment options.”
Not only does James navigate his own health, he is also an inspiration for many people living with MS in the area.
“I have met many people, over these past 10 years, who have been recently diagnosed and are going through many of the similar unknowns that Terina and I originally dealt with. Each time, it takes us back to when I was first diagnosed and helps reaffirm our dedication to fundraising to END MS so that when we reach our goal, no one else will have to live with this debilitating disease.”
“Our team, MS AIN’T PURDY, has been a top fundraising team locally, provincially, and even nationally,” James proudly said it’s thanks to support from his family, friends, work family and even strangers.
“10 years ago when we signed up for our first MS Walk we had no idea of the support that was around us. At our first walk in 2009 we had about 50 team members walk beside us and were blown away by the donations that rolled in from each of you. That first year we raised $21,500 thanks to your generosity! At that point we realized that we could make a difference and we committed as a family to raising awareness and raising money to END MS. “
It’s a family affair for the Purdy’s, explained James, “each of our three kids did their first MS Walk as a baby in a stroller. Now our oldest is 10, middle is 8, and our youngest is 5.”
The kids have even taken on larger roles to help the effort. “Griffin has been holding his own at fundraising for the past few years doing events in the community, at his school, and with his hockey teams. Stella has also been coming up with some great fundraising ideas and is always by my side volunteering for MS. Our youngest, Layla, is eager to do it all and her enthusiastic spirit always lightens the mood. Her brother and sister are great role models and just like them she’ll be kicking some serious MS butt on the fundraising scene in no time.”
It may not have been a group James wanted to join, but it’s a group that he’s now leading towards a cure. To support MS AIN’T PURDY donate online at mssociety.ca
. You can make a monetary donation, join the walk or challenge the group with your own team fundraising efforts.