A few life-changing things happened to Lenita Fryxell in 1993.
She was diagnosed with the central nervous system disease multiple sclerosis, or MS.
She married her husband, Glen.
And in between, she took part in her first Walk MS: Tri-Cities, an annual event coordinated by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
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This year’s walk is Saturday at Columbia Park. Fryxell, 59, of Kennewick, will be on hand — just as she’s been for evach year since her first walk.
“It’s wonderful. You go down and (so many friends) and families are there. You’re laughing. It’s so exciting to see everybody,” she said. “You catch up, hear everything they’ve been doing.”
And raise money and awareness for a good cause.
Since 1988, the society has put on Walk MS events around the country, with cumulative fundraising estimated to pass $1 billion this year.
More than 350 people are expected to join Fryxell at Columbia Park for this year’s Tri-Cities walk.
Check-in opens at 9 a.m. and the roughly four-mile walk begins at 10 a.m. at the east end of the park.
There’s no registration fee. Participants may sign up at the event.
Fryxell learned she had MS after one of her legs went numb. It was the spring 1993, and she was in the midst of planning a summer wedding.
She went to the doctor and eventually got the diagnosis.
“By the time the wedding came around, I had no feeling in back of my right leg or part of the other leg,” she said.
She bought three wedding dresses. The first one went with high heels, but she was struggling in those. She got another to go with lower heels, and a third to go with flats.
She walked down the aisle with her mother on one side and her son on the other.
More than two decades later, Fryxell is doing well. She’s done numerous treatments over the years, from betaseron to chemotherapy.
“On a good day, you wouldn’t even know I have MS, because of the research and drugs that have come out since I was diagnosed,” she said, adding that she and her doctors are proactive.
Along with participating in the walk each year, Fryxell also has dedicated time to MS education and advocacy.
Her family is supportive. Glen has been at her side at nearly every one of the annual walks. Her son, daughter and grandchildren also are faithful participants.
This year, Fryxell’s Walk MS: Tri-Cities team has about 40 members and it’s at the top of the fundraising list, with more than $5,700.
Fryxell is looking forward to Saturday.
“MS takes away from you. You wake up sometimes and something doesn’t work. Or you’re trying to pick up something and you’re dropping it all the time. Or you’re falling all the time. Or your words don’t work all the time — that’s one of mine that happens. MS robs you of a little bit at a time,” she said.
“But on that one day a year, when everybody is down there, nobody notices. Everybody is happy,” she said. “We’re just having a good time. It’s back to normal.”
IF YOU GO
What: Walk MS: Tri-Cities, a walk to raise money and awareness for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
When: 10 a.m. April 8. Check in starts at 9 a.m.
Where: Columbia Park in Kennewick.