You know her. She is the go-to mom, the tireless co-worker, the ever-ready volunteer. She is the little ball of energy, up for anything in the name of family, friends and community.
Such describes McKinney’s Kimberly Ippolito. That is until unrelenting fatigue and other curious symptoms try to tell a different story.
“I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in November 2006,” says Ippolito. “Today, it’s still a battle.”
According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, MS is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. It interrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and the body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis, with progress, severity and specific symptoms varying from one person to the next.
“For me, it affects my right side,” says Ippolito. “It can be pretty scary sometimes.”
Ippolito suffers from what is known as Relapsing Remitting MS, with the course of the disease marked by periods of time when symptoms lessen or disappear, only to reappear again.
Because of the high unpredictability of the disease, Ippolito's day-to-day life is greatly altered. Gone is her full-time job. Gone are most of her volunteer gigs too. Fatigue and symptom relapse make energy a premium commodity.
“I rest when I can and plan ahead,” says Ippolito. “I always have a plan B, C, D and E just in case too. Plus, I have lots of help from family and friends. My husband is wonderful. He really is the best.”
Despite her challenges, Ippolito remains hopeful and determined. “I’m not going down without a fight.”
On March 2, Ippolito along with family and friends collectively known as Kimberly’s Krew, will participate in Walk MS: Dallas 2013, presented by Pfizer. It will take place at Addison Circle Park in Addison.
“This is my fourth walk,” says Ippolito. “I walk every year that I can. It gives me a sense of doing something positive. “
The fundraising walk raises funds to help find more treatments with the ultimate goal of finding a cure for MS.
Last year’s walk garnered close to $870,000, with approximately 7,100 participants walking. This year the organization hopes to reach the million dollar mark. Ippolito and the thirteen members of Kimberly’s Krew are up for the challenge.
“It really does warm my heart to do this walk,” says Ippolito, “There is hope. MS is not a death sentence. It is a disease that impacts not just the one with it, but the whole family. Yes, it’s a challenge to get up and keep going. But, you get up and you keep going because we need more research. We need more options for treatments. And ultimately we need a cure. With everyone helping, we can make this happen.”
To join Kimberly and Kimberly’s Krew for Walk MS: Dallas 2013, or to make a donation visit WalkMSTexas.org or call 469-629-4700. Registrants can also stay informed through Facebook or via Twitter @DFWWalkMS.
Early and ongoing treatment with an FDA-approved therapy can make a difference for people with multiple sclerosis. Learn about your options by talking to your health care professional and contacting the National MS Society at NationalMSSociety.org or 1-800-FIGHT-MS (344-4867).