SARANAC LAKE - Resident Judy Duncan was named one of the 2014 Walk MS "Most Inspirational Walkers" for the New Jersey Metro's Walk MS event.
In 1998, Duncan was officially diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, but it took many years for that diagnosis to come. There is no definitive test for diagnosing MS. The symptoms often mimic those of other conditions and diseases making it particularly difficult to diagnose. Judy's first symptom of the disease was a condition called "drop foot". Drop foot is the difficulty to lift the foot making it challenging to and sometimes dangerous to walk. In particular Judy did have difficulty walking without tripping.
Once she was able to label her condition she decided it was time to do something to help herself, as well as others living with the disease. In 1999 she formed a Walk MS team, Team JD, with just four members and participated in her first Walk MS event in South Portland, Maine.
Fifteen years later Judy and Team JD are still walking. Judy and team have walked in many locations in the Northeast. The last few years they have traveled to Flemington, N.J. to be with family that lives in that area.
Duncan's MS has progressed to the point where she is no longer able to walk but she continues to participate in Walk MS. "Seeing the large number of people who come out to help raise money for MS is an overwhelming experience and drives me to keep fighting,"she said. "This year, Team JD will be walking in our 15th Walk MS. We have had over 100 members participate with us over the years. I truly believe a cure for MS will be found in my lifetime, and I will continue to raise funds for research until that day comes!"
In 15 years Judy and Team JD have raised more than $275,000 to support critical MS research, and programs and services for those impacted by MS. This year she has set a goal of raising another $20,000.
On Sunday, Duncan and her team will hit the trail to help create a world free of MS in the 2014 Walk MS event in Flemington, N.J.
To find a local Walk MS site, log on to www.walkMS.org or call 800-344-4867.