Updated: Apr 6, 2020
By Graham Burrows and Jamie Lee Roberts.
Video by the community of Mackenzie, BC, edited by Shakat Media.
This inspiring story was submitted by a Mackenzie B.C. youth Graham Burrows, age 27. Earlier this year he started a fundraiser to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis.
MS is currently classified as an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord). The disease attacks myelin, the protective covering of the nerves, causing inflammation and often damaging the myelin. Myelin is necessary for the transmission of nerve impulses through nerve fibres. If damage to myelin is slight, nerve impulses travel with minor interruptions; however, if damage is substantial and if scar tissue replaces the myelin, nerve impulses may be completely disrupted, and the nerve fibres themselves can be damaged. MS is unpredictable and can cause symptoms such as extreme fatigue, lack of coordination, weakness, tingling, impaired sensation, vision problems, bladder problems, cognitive impairment and mood changes. Its effects can be physical, emotional and financial. Currently there is no cure, but each day researchers are learning more about what causes MS and are zeroing in on ways to prevent it.
Canada has one of the highest rates of multiple sclerosis (MS) in the world, with an estimated 1 in every 385 Canadians living with the disease. While it is most often diagnosed in young adults aged 20 to 49, younger children and older adults are also diagnosed with the disease.
It’s a cause that is close to Graham’s heart his mother being diagnosed. As well as many of his friends. He has done fundraisers for MS in the past and thought this time he would try something a little different. This time Grahams final goal was to raise a total of $2000.00 and cross country ski, in nothing but a speedo, a tuxedo speedo. “My mother has had Multiple Sclerosis (MS) for as long as I can remember, so it’s been a cause that’s close to my heart. When I moved to Mackenzie I was introduced to a team of people who actively fund-raise for MS and attend the annual Prince George MS walk. Some of the members of this team have MS, and I also have colleagues and friends that have been diagnosed with this disease. Unfortunately for me, I don’t have a whole lot of shame, and am generally willing to do something ridiculous for charity, and I’m learning ‘ridiculous’ can work well in fundraising. I started fundraising in 2017, where I took part in Mackenzie’s Annual Polar Bear Plunge, but only if I raised a certain amount of money for MS.
I set a goal that I would jump in once for $250, and twice for $500, and I raised somewhere over $500, so I had to jump in twice. In 2018 I had planned to do the polar bear plunge again, and set different fundraising goals for different things like doing the plunge in a tuxedo speedo. I was able to start raising money, but they had to cancel the Polar Bear Plunge that year as they were not able to get a machine out to cut the ice. Since I had raised a bunch of money at this point, I was already committed. After some brainstorming with friends I decided to change goals to skiing down the local ski hill in the speedo with people throwing water balloons at me, and I was able to raise $1360. I am planning on doing another fundraiser at some point, yes, although I haven’t decided what I will do yet. I’m hoping something different than skis and speedos. I’m not sure if it will be equally or more ridiculous than this past fundraiser, but if each year continues to get progressively more ridiculous, it could quickly get dangerous,” explains Graham.
But maybe “Danger” is Grahams middle name! Haha.
If you would like to donate to the cause, you can contact Graham through email: firstname.lastname@example.org or go directly to his fundraising page at this link: https://secure3.convio.net/mssoc/site/TR/Walk/BCandYukonDivision?px=2445435&pg=personal&fr_id=6824&fbclid=IwAR1JGUHalNYSiFGIWT9j6dA5r3iuOCZ1S8hMPCBhGr0zNi2mYl1k4BYBxqM