Health Care

Beaufort couple takes strides for multiple sclerosis research

Gwen and Kevin Ragsdale are getting ready to step out against multiple sclerosis.

The Beaufort couple will participate in the 11th annual Carolinas Challenge Walk MS to benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The March 4 through 6 walk on the Isle of Palms will span 50 miles in three days.

The Ragsdales will walk in honor of a family member with MS. Gwen said that family member, whom they asked to keep anonymous, was in her late 30s when she went from training for a run one day to not being able to walk down the street the next. Her symptoms included exhaustion and a tingling feeling throughout her body. After a month of tests, doctors diagnosed her with MS, an unpredictable, incurable and often disabling disease affecting the brain, spinal cord and nerves.

Now about three years after diagnosis, Gwen said her family member is doing well thanks to medication. But Gwen said the disease is a daily struggle; some days are better than others. She said if it weren't for all the research the National Multiple Sclerosis Society has done over the years, her family member might not be doing so well.

Gwen and Kevin want to raise money to help ensure the organization continues that research. Walkers are required to raise at least $1,500 each. The Ragsdales were more than halfway to that goal as of Feb. 18.

"You never know who is going to be diagnosed with it next," Gwen said. "What we do today may help one of our children maybe in the future."