Published: Sunday, April 15, 2007
Families team up to raise funds
Hundreds of area residents walked to raise awareness about MS.
By SEAN BARRON
CANFIELD The past few weeks have been difficult for Ron and Sandy Teck of Austintown because they learned that their 23-year-old daughter, Jessi LaRossa, has multiple sclerosis.
"It was quite a shock," Sandy Teck said, tears filling her eyes.
Since their daughter's diagnosis two weeks ago, the Tecks and several other family members and friends have scrambled to raise money on her behalf for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. They pulled together as a 10-member team and took part in Saturday's fifth-annual MS Walk at the Canfield Fairgrounds on state Route 46. The walk was put on by the society's Ohio Buckeye chapter.
Before her diagnosis, LaRossa suffered from blackouts, said Mrs. Teck, a former teacher at Market Street Elementary School in Boardman. After looking for a possible blood clot, an MRI and spinal tap revealed MS, Ron Teck recalled.
Despite her diagnosis, LaRossa is able to continue working for the owner of a flight school. She is "looking forward to her whole life," said team member Denise McConnell, a special-education teacher at Robinwood Lane Elementary School in Boardman.
LaRossa is grateful for the emotional support, donations and prayers she's received from her husband, James, as well as from family and friends, McConnell said, adding that the diagnosis has changed LaRossa' s perspective in certain ways.
"She felt invincible; she doesn't feel that way anymore," McConnell said.
A few hundred people of all ages took the three-mile walk around the fairgrounds, which was designed to raise awareness of the disease and to advocate for those who are affected. Walkers were able to participate as individuals or on teams to collect pledges and earn incentive prizes.
So far, the Tecks' team has collected about $776, Ron Teck said.
'Do it for Case'
Also walking in the cool but partly sunny 40-degree morning were several members of the "Do it for Case" team, named after 2-year-old Case Henderson, whose mother, Tracie Henderson, was diagnosed last year. For its part, the team, with 25 members, has raised just over $3,100 in two months, said Henderson's aunt and teammate, Becky Cramer-Crowl.
After having numbness in her right arm and vision problems, Henderson, of Columbiana County, received an MRI, which showed MS, she said.
Providing entertainment for the walkers and staff was Shady Drive, a North Ridgeville, Ohio-based band.
The Worthington, Ohio-based Ohio Buckeye chapter serves about 10,000 Ohioans in Mahoning, Trumbull, Columbiana and 33 other counties, noted Jennifer Hamilton, vice president of marketing.
For more information, contact the chapter at (800) 667-7131, or go its Web site, www.MSohiobuckeye.org.