WATERPORT, NY (WIVB) Wendy Cannon of Waterport, NY, challenged herself to walk 50 miles over three days last month in the 2016 MS Challenge Walk in Cape Cod, and she almost made it. If it hadn’t been for those darn blisters!
Wendy and her husband T.J. completed 40 of the 50 miles on the scenic, hilly walking course, but her blistered feet wouldn’t allow her to continue. And, it wasn’t just her feet. She lost three toenails to the demanding trek!
“I trained my muscles all year, from spinning to walking to weight training,” she says, “I was bummed that it was blisters that stopped me.”
But Wendy and T.J. won’t be stopped for long. They are already looking toward the 2017 MS Challenge Walk next September and raising the $3,000 required for Team Cannon to participate. Wendy wants to show others what is possible, even with multiple sclerosis.
“It was definitely one of the most challenging things physically and emotionally I have ever done,” she says. “I was determined to complete this.”
Wendy was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1999 when she was 28. She had numbness on the left side of her body and was in a wheelchair for a month.
She joined a clinical trial and found a medication that helped get her back on her feet — the same feet that just walked a grueling 40 miles in Cape Cod.
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, typically progressive disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms are unpredictable and vary from person to person. They can include numbness, poor balance, blurred vision, severe fatigue, dizziness, heat intolerance, and more. There is no cure.
Western New York has a very high rate of MS and no one is quite sure why.
Wendy, 45, works full-time as a home care occupational therapist and provides OT to many others who have more advanced MS. She has her own rigorous workout routine that sees her rise many days at 4:30 AM.
Now, she and T.J. are training for the 2017 Challenge Walk and working to raise money for their entry. She says their most successful fundraiser has been collecting bottles and cans. When possible, they will pick up bottles and cans as donations. She can be reached at 585-520-5479.
You may also make a donation to her MS Challenge Walk page: Challenge Walk MS: Cape Cod 2017: Team Cannon – National MS Society
Wendy says words cannot describe the determination and comaraderie that surrounded her and T.J.
“There were people of all abilities, from fully ambulatory to power wheelchairs,” she reflects. “We made many friends and look forward to coming together again.”