INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — City leaders and multiple sclerosis advocates will dye the canal orange Thursday, to begin National MS Awareness Week.
IN Cure of MS, Inc in cooperation with Indiana’s chapter of the National MS Society, will host the event along with Mayor Joe Hogsett, who will read a proclamation. The Indianapolis Power & Light (IPL) building will also light up its windows orange for MS this week, and IN Cure of MS will also begin selling tickets for its fundraiser gala “Champagne Dream” in June.
Dyeing the canal orange is a favorite tradition of Ambrosia Sauer, a Greenwood wife and mother of four who manages her husband’s dentistry practice. She continues to battle the disease daily, moving to appointments in a walker or wheelchair and attending school functions for her oldest son and three younger triplet sons.
When Sauer was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2009, her sons were all under the age of 5.
“I used to be a long distance runner,” said Sauer. “My knees down would go numb and just get kind of heavy, and I would trip. Then I noticed my right thumb was numb. And I thought, I feel like I’m going crazy here.”
Not crazy, just sick. An MRI confirmed Sauer had multiple sclerosis, an unpredictable often disabling disease of the central nervous system.
The National MS Society explains it disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. It says symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. Diagnosis happens most often between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 2.3 million worldwide, according to the National MS Society.
“You had to grieve the loss of the person you thought you were, or that you thought you were going to be,” said Sauer. “When I was first diagnosed I think my greatest fear was that I would be in a wheelchair and it’s really not that big of a deal. It’s kind of nice sometimes to have someone else push me around,” she laughed.
It hasn’t been an easy road but Sauer says friends, family and perfect strangers have stepped up daily to help her. Beverley Stafford, president of the National MS Society, Indiana, says she hopes even more people can learn about and have compassion for those with MS.
“For some folks, it’s like having the flu. Think about that, nobody wants the flu, and [they] have that feeling all the time,” said Stafford.
Stafford helps organize June’s fundraising gala, along with the upcoming “Walk MS” event on April 25, 2020.
“The National MS Society is here to find a cure,” she said. “So we fund research, trying to figure out what causes MS and help people live their best lives right now.”
While a lot has changed in 11 years, Sauer says the important things haven’t.
“I’m still a mom. I still take care of them and help them with homework, argue with them because they’re all teenagers now,” Sauer laughed.
This year’s IN Cure of MS Gala will be held Friday, June 5, 2020. Tickets are available on the organization’s website, along with details about the venue, Biltwell Event Center, and the lead entertainers, alternative rock group Sister Hazel.