Families walk to help combat multiple sclerosis

As a kid, Paris Ioannou didn’t quite understand what multiple sclerosis was and what it would mean for his mom.

His mother, Victoria, was diagnosed with the disease when he was a young boy.

An optometrist discovered a problem with her optic neuritis and sent her for an MRI. When the results came back, she was told she had MS, a complex disease that affects the central nervous system.

“I was very young at the time but as I got older my mother explained to me what it was and the severities that come with MS,” Ioannou recalled. “My emotions were confused because of how young I was, but as I got older I realized what it was and just had to accept the fact that she had MS.”

Paris and Victoria, along with other members of their family, participated in the 20th annual MS Walk-a-Thon on Sunday. Despite rain and snow in Toronto, more than 2,000 people participated in the 2011 MS Walk and raised $649,587. At walks across the province, $4.4 million was raised.

The Ioannou family has been attending the walk-a-thon for more than five years.

“It’s a good thing that the public is doing the best they can to keep this strong and showing that there is hope, and in the future MS will be cured,” Ioannou said.

He said his family rallies to help their mother in her day-to-day struggles.

“Some of the struggles my mom deals with now is that she has problems when it comes to touch and using the palm of her hand,” he said. “That comes from the MS attacks that she has had in the past and those were the damages that were left behind. She can feel everything she touches but in some cases she feels the numbness of her palms. If she needs any assistance with anything around the house, we’re always there for her by being her right hand. We were all affected in different ways, but at the end of the day we all had to accept what my mother had and support her all the way.”