If you’re looking out a window in the Markham Road and Lawrence Avenue area this Sunday, you might see Myles Riley walk by.
He’ll have company.
The 24-year old is participating in the annual Super Cities Walk for MS, a six- or 12-kilometer walk around our area benefiting the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada.
Riley was diagnosed with MS a little less than one year ago after waking up one morning and finding the right side of his body paralyzed. Thinking he had slept funny, he took the day off work and tried to “sleep it off”.
When that didn’t help he went to the doctor and wound up in the hospital for a week.
“I had a plan and a life goal dependent on me being able to work for the next two years, so I felt like I was starting from scratch,” said Riley, about the diagnosis.
The walk is in its 17th year and is the largest fundraising effort put forth by the MS Society, says their website. It involves over 70,000 volunteers and participants in more than 160 communities across the country from spring to early fall.
Last year, over 350 volunteers came out to support the Scarborough Super Cities Walk and helped to raise over $33,000.
It took Riley a year before he returned to what he describes as a “normal” state. Before the onset of his MS, he worked in the graphic design industry.
He has since left the industry because he can’t type as fast as he used to. He also has trouble writing for more than 10 to 15 minutes at a time.
“I was using a cane for the first six months,” Riley said. “I couldn’t walk at a brisk pace, couldn’t pick up a pen to write my name.
“Brushing my teeth, you have to use your left hand for everything.”
Money from the Super Cities Walk is used to fund a $4.3 million study of MS in children and a long-term, worldwide genetic susceptibility study.
“I was registered a couple weeks ago, I’ve raised close to $700 so far. I plan to do the Rona Ride for MS, at the end of May or June,” Riley said.
He said he is most surprised by the number of people who he hasn’t seen or spoken to in years but have reached out with large pledges.
He plans on doing the 12 km route starting at Cedarbrae Colligate through Highland Creek ravine to Birkdale Community Centre at Ellesmere Road.