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Lifting spirits and raising awareness - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Lifting spirits and raising awareness

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RUTLAND, Vt. -

Shining a spotlight on a disease that those who suffer from, say is often hard to see. In 2000, Donna Hammond had a health scare that left her doctors confused for months.

"I fell down a flight of stairs and like a month later, my feet started going numb," said Donna Hammond.

After numerous tests, Hammond was finally diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

"It was a relief to know what I finally had so that we can start the journey to do something about it," Hammond explains.

Part of that journey included organizing Saturday's MS Walk in Rutland, an event that raises funds and awareness of the autoimmune disease. This is Hammond's 7th year coordinating the group who walked a three or five mile course around Rutland. Participants included Hammond's family members.

"It is rough sometimes, because she can't do a whole lot," said Donna's son, Ryan Hammond.

Hammond's mom also came out to support her. According to the MS Society, the disease has over 19,000 sufferers in Vermont, Massachusetts, and Maine. Hammond credits events like this for helping to develop medications that make her life more manageable, but says more still needs to be done, especially raising awareness.

"If I could unzip my body and turn it inside out and let people see what's going on with my nerves, and if you could see the pain, maybe you would understand," said Hammond.

The event was fun for the whole family including these toddlers and pets, who all walked towards finding a cure and raised funds for the MS Society.

Although the organization is national, funds raised Saturday will go towards building things like ramps to help those who suffer from MS right here in Rutland.

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