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MS Walk this Sunday – meet Doreen, 2019 Ambassador

May 3, 2019   ·   0 Comments

By Wendy Gabrek

Alliston resident Doreen Small is walking to help find a cure for multiple sclerosis (MS) this coming weekend.

Diagnosed with relapsing- remitting MS in 2016, Doreen loves travelling, and spending time with family and friends.

Before her diagnosis, Doreen – a mother of two – was an active curler. MS has caused the loss of feeling in her feet and hands, and after a fall, she can no longer participate in the sport.

“Curling is one thing I sorely miss,” Doreen told The Times. “Other than the numbness in my hands and feet, and the fact my husband has to give me an injection every two weeks, I don’t think of the MS at all – except when I think of curling.”

Doreen received her diagnosis after testing, following a suggestion that her described symptoms seemed “MS-like”, at a Boxing Day party. 

“When I got my diagnosis I was relieved,” Doreen said. “Because it was ‘only’ MS. It wasn’t a death sentence, and I had been expecting the worst.”

Doreen, 59 at the time of diagnosis, had presumably been living with MS for years – as she reports numbness in her hands that she just “shook off” for years.

Since then, Doreen and her husband, Don, have participated in the New Tecumseth Mandarin MS Walk each year, and 2019 is no exception.

“Our team is ‘Find A Cure’ and there are so many friends and family on our team,” said Doreen. “I participate in the MS Walk because it gives me the feeling I am helping in the diagnosis and research into MS. I am encouraged with the new research and the fact more people are talking about it. Prior to being diagnosed I was very ignorant of this disease. My fondest memory is when our team does an arch of arms and [my friend who also lives with MS] and I go through that arch to their cheers.”

Find A Cure has been the Top Fundraising Team for the past two years, and Doreen herself the Top Individual Fundraiser for two years as well.

Having joined an existing team, Doreen is proud of the show of support from the community, and humbled by the continued outpouring of love.

“I fund raise because my best friend had breast cancer, and passed away. I previously raised funds for that cause but stopped after she died,” said Doreen. She returned to fund raising after her MS diagnosis because she was pleased to learn that 60 per cent of monies raised stay in the community, and knowing first hand how expensive MS medications can be.

“My medication, Plegridy, is two-thousand dollars a month,” Doreen confirms.

A former Bell Canada employee, Doreen’s benefits ($50,000) ran out after just two years of retirement. Thankfully she is covered under Don’s benefits, but she worries about those who cannot afford their medication.

The New Tecumseth Mandarin MS Walk is a time of community celebration among those who are in some way affected by MS, and a way to show support in the fight to end the disease. 

In 2018, nearly 150 participants and volunteers came together to raise over $33,000 for research, mobility equipment, and local programs and services.

When asked what a cure would mean to her, Doreen said, “It would mean that the financial constraints on many who have and will get the disease will decrease because prevention would be a reality.”

She also adds, “Tell your family and friends about the symptoms of MS if you have it. Early detection and monitoring is important”.

This year, the Mandarin MS Walks takes place on Sunday, May 5, throughout Simcoe County. The New Tecumseth MS Walk will be kicking off at Banting Memorial High School at 10 a.m. with check-in opening at 8:30 a.m.

To register, visit or call 1-800-268-7582.

To support Doreen’s fund raising efforts go to:

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