Page 3

News *f^esidence changes to By KATE

D.

VANDEVEN

Obtaining I'unding, I'incling accommodations and locating volunteers are just a few of the obstacles that Marty West and his family had to overcome as he pre|iarcd for college.

years,

Nevertheless, after two

with

the

Conestoga

help

of

the

Residence

push of a button. His desk and bed were rai.scd and a lift and commode were pur-

years,

Numerous phone calls and postings were also made to hclir find

and

assistance

lakes

translates,

flowever,

she said

West’s

Sarah

Viola,

assistant

general

of beginning college has become a

siders a friend.

gels

reality.

She said West was frustrated during the initial weeks as he needed .someone at all times until

school,

West,

of Stratford,

24,

suffers

Irom three lorms of cerebral palsy, which have caused his quadriplegia.

To

find

accommodation was

a

his

reciuircd

works

residence,

who

she con-

eciuipment

she

not

is

only his “eyes, cars, legs and arms.”

the closest with West,

the

tests

tutor,

and Conference Centre, Marly's dream

at

proctors

notes,

and exams,

problems

arise.

manager

accommodate student

does personal care and helps West with his lunch five days a week.

addresses

mechanical

West

what he

.said

about being

that

is

more respect then he

most he

likes the

college

in

high

in

having

people around all the time and he likes having more independence.

was

He

said

likes

program

his

“very,

is

installed.

very good” and he

teachers because they arc helpful.

Fortunately for West, residence has two barrier-free suites, which

However, now that everything is in place, he is doing much better and is able to focus more on

means

school.

difficult task.

rooms rooms and

the

typical

are

larger than

arc wheelchair

accessible.

However,

to

accommodate West,

residence officials had to do a

work of

little

own. A magnetic door opener was installed on West’s wheelchair, which allows him to open not only their

his own door, but also the doors throughout residence with just a

Woman

West is majoring and Viola thinks he

in

accounting

is

“sharp as a

whip.”

diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 13 years ago.

“One day left

side of

at a

baseball

game

my stomach just

The next day

the

froze.

moved down my down to my ankle,” it

back and then Florence says

Mary

Peer,

59,

of

Puslinch.

he (the doctor) thought it was shingles, but (the medication) they gave me for it didn’t work. Then he told me he thought “At

I

West hopes

first

had MS.”

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system

to live in residence

who

Reiger,

West’s edu-

As

for

other disabled

who

are

to

the fact

years

it

will take

is

West about

five

finish

to

course, he

is

the three-year “extremely bright,”

good with numbers and doing “awesome” in college. really

is

and spinal cord).

ers can

be

in their 50s.

develop MS twice as often as men.

Women Two

almost

basic signs are essential to signs of the disease in

MS:

several parts of the nervous sys-

tem and

at least

two signs of flare-

come

students

the

in

future,

Viola said along with the two barrier-free

residence also has

suites,

another room, which

is

not wheel-

chair accessible, but

is

accessible

for blind students.

MS

know what

causes the swelling and breakdown of the myelin sheath that usually shields nerve fibers in the central nervous system. MS most often strikes people between the ages of 20 and 40. However, some people are diagnosed in their childhood and oth-

verify

his

time.

cational assistant, also said despite

It

tomorrow and know that you can’t do anything about yesterday.” These are the words one woman has come to live by after being

all

for his remaining years in college.

(the brain

“Live for today, look towards

likes

West also said he enjoys having a roommate, who he described as a nice guy who helps him out all the

diagnosed with

By LESLEY LEACHMAN

— Page 3

2002

4,

Reiger, who has been working as an educational assistant for three

cha.scd.

should any

SPOKE, November

copes with her

was.

it

“After he (the doctor) told me, I probably just went on to talk about the weather,” says Peer.

“When up

in the

came home I looked it encyclopedia and it said I

MS

was a neurological disease and that you could end up in a wheelchair. Then I told my parents and I was just a basket case. I

why me? What

thought,

did

I

cause her to rely on a wheelchair, but she still has to cope with sev-

symptoms. do have a dropped foot, which means my ankle won’t hold me up, so I have to wear a brace,” she says. “And my hand up to my elbow tineral “I

gles.”

Also, stress can trigger flare-ups patients. Life changes such in as giving birth or the loss of a

Fear, anger, depression, disbe-

and

are

guilt

MS, both

emotional reactions to for the victims

common

all

their loved

and for

ones.

nosed with MS. However, when her doctor told her she had the disease, she didn’t

toms) were just arthritis,” says Peer’s mother, Edith Inglis. “I felt

“At

first I

time

all this

was shocked because I thought (her symp-

just terrible for her.”

However, people that have MS can join support groups, which help them cope with their disease. “it helps to be with someone else

However, sometimes it won’t occur for months afterward. Everyday stresses can affect MS

has the same

who

thing as

you,” says Peer.

“Not everyone has the same symptoms, but it’s good to know that you’re not the only one with

MS.” The symptoms of MS range from occasional numbness and tingling in the limbs to fatigue,

muscle spasms, sensitivity to heat, weakness in the muscles, poor vision, poor bladder control and paralysis.

can also affect the to remember, solve

It

capability

I

my

in

have

MS

“We

encourage people

to

try

“Not everyone has the

same symptoms, but it’s good to know that you’re with MS.”

one

not the only

Florence Peer,

get really upset,

get pains

I

multiple sclerosis

stomach,” she says. “I just

sufferer

walk away from the

to learn to

and take my mind off of it.” Although MS hasn’t changed

with

MS

to

come

out and have a

Peer’s lifestyle dramatically, there are still things that she isn’t able to

good time.” Through the 13 years Peer has

do.

battled

“I’m more active then some people with MS, but I get frustrated with the things I can’t do anymore,” she says. “For instance 1 used to like to cut the grass and

I

used to work

in

the garden.”

Although there

no cure for

is

MS. new methods of

treating the

disease are being developed.

Since 1995. four mediations for MS have been approved in Canada. The treatments have

treating

been shown

clinical

in

trials

to

decrease the severity and frequency of

MS

attacks.

There are several fundraisers in that help support MS

a

it

more compassion-

a lot

towards other people with dis-

eases and disabilities.

“Sometimes

can spot people

I

(with disabilities) and other people can’t see

it.”

she says.

have to say to someone, you need to help this person because they can’t do it alone. Along with this compassion. Peer has discovered the courage to

cope with MS. "Sometimes have

to

1

that there are

people with

remember MS much

worse off than me.” says Peer. "There was a lady who was diagnosed at the same time as me and she had to be pul in a home. 1 haven’t progressed the wav 1

services and research.

w hich is one-day. non-competitive walk

The Super

ate

she has found that

MS,

makes her

"Fll

Canada

been diagnosed with MS.

MS

Society divisions. “Every fourth Thursday of the month we hold a bingo night at the Lion’s club,” says Sadie MacAxthur, a Cambridge unit society worker.

stress

problems or concentrate.

Peer is one of the 50,000 Canadians that have

raisers that help support local

patients as well. “If

ups of the disease. Peer is one of the 50,000 Canadians that have been diag-

disability

MS

loved one can cause a flare-up.

do?” lief

(Photo by Kate D. VandeVen)

Conestoga Residence and Conference Centre managers added magnetic door openers, a raised desk and bed and new lift and commode to help Marty West fulfill his dream of starting college.

Cities Walk,

thought

1

would have.

years I’ve probably

“She is a very strong person to have coped with it the way she has.” says her mother. "She’s doing very well. Despite all she has struggled

MS

through. Peer remains optimistic

“In the last couple of years I’ve

about her situation. “It’s like my mother-in-law told me - if God hadn’t thought I

that helps raise

money

society of Canada,

is

for the

run

in

MS the

MS

relapsing-

spring

remitting disease. There are flareor exacerbations called ups

raised

Normally.

a

is

relapses

when symptoms become

worse,

followed

when symptoms Peer that

is

she

by

the

sense

developed any-

thing severe enough that

"Over

across the country. the

about

SI 3.000

would

lor

through the walk,” says Peer. tried not to walk, but

decrease.

fortunate in

hasn’t

remission

all

gi\ ing ter

me money

keep doing

so

1

people keep figure

1

bet-

it.”

Also, there are

community fund-

couldn’t

handle

have given

it

to

he wouldn’t

it,

me,

she says.

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