Pearce-Schwed said finding a cause and a cure is especially important to her because it has affected two generations of her family.
“My mother has MS and I have MS,” Pearce Schwed said. “I cannot let this disease affect my children, and that’s really what has kept me motivated over the years.”
Glavin said there were many first-timers this year. One of these was Jerry Mackey, an athletics coach at Oneonta High School. Mackey, who has coached boy’s basketball and girl’s soccer at OHS for many years, was diagnosed with MS in February.
More than 115 people made up “Team Mackey,” the largest team at the event, according to Glavin. Friends, family members and students were there to support Mackey, his wife and his four children, Mackey said. He called the experience “humbling” and “inspiring.”
“It was pretty amazing,” Mackey said. “I was able to pinpoint my energy level so I could join in the walk and see everyone. It was an uplifting event and nice for me mentally and physically.”
Mackey said he and his doctor are beginning to develop a plan for treatment and medicine going forward. He said it helps to know that he lives in a great community that will support him no matter what and to look to those who have gone before him and done well. It also helps to keep a positive outlook, Mackey said.
Until his recent diagnosis, the WALK MS event flew under Mackey’s radar. Now, it will become a part of his new normal, he said. He estimated that Team Mackey raised more than $3,000 for the cause.
“Hopefully we will be able to look back someday and try to explain to our grandchildren what MS used to be,” Mackey said. “But until then, events like this that raise money, awareness and support are so important. It was really neat.”