INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The canal in downtown Indianapolis may look a little different to people who passed it late Thursday afternoon.
The water was colored orange on purpose. The colored canal water is a symbol of solidarity with nearly a million people across the country who are battling multiple sclerosis. also called MS.
Advocates decided to change the color of the canal to let people with the disease know they are not alone.
Lance Oxley works as a director for Gatorade’s manufacturing plants. For 20 years, he has lived with the disease in which the immune system eats away at the protective covering of nerves.
“It’s really nice to know that people care about it and there’s a lot of people working to cure the disease,” Oxley said. “We all want a better future, not only for myself, but for my kids and families and everyone involved with MS.”
Oxley says he’s learned to stay positive and believes it’s important for people new to the diagnosis to see people facing the disease with a positive attitude.
“It’s not the end of the world,” Oxley said. “People can see that and see that we’re enjoying life out here.”
Some attended the coloring of the canal Thursday to remember friends, family and others who lost in the fight against the disease.
“My birth mother passed away from complications with MS in August of 2011,” Iesha Vaughn said. “She was wheelchair-bound for years before she passed away.”
Vaughn was at the event to support Oxley. Vaughn says seeing Oxley and other survivors and advocates re-energizes her desire to raise more awareness.
“It’s exhilerating. Here we are and we take life for granted every day and there are people who are suffering and they’re still getting up.”
Vaughn hopes that more people will become educated about multiple sclerosis. She had a message from people with MS: “Keep fighting.”