Taunia Bowman and Misti Sims are leading the local battle against multiple sclerosis.
The two Parkersburg women are raising money and awareness to fight MS, a chronic, often disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system.
There is no cure for MS and its cause is unknown. About 4,000 people in West Virginia and 170 residents of the Mid-Ohio Valley have the disease, said Bowman, who wants to establish a local support group.
Bowman attended the National Multiple Sclerosis Society's public policy conference last month in Washington, D.C., that advocated for additional federal funding and supported the Congressional MS Caucus. While on Capitol Hill, she met with Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and several congressional aides.
Bowman, 49, was diagnosed with MS 10 years ago and uses a wheelchair.
Parkersburg's Walk MS on April 29 at Riverfront Park begins at 1 p.m. with registration and the walk is at 2 p.m., said Bowman, event spokeswoman. Entertainment and food will be included as the local event tries to surpass last year's fundraising total of $13,000 for the National MS Society, Blue Ridge chapter, which includes the West Virginia office.
To register to walk, donate or volunteer call 1-800-FIGHT-MS.
Bowman is spearheading the first "Music to Crush MS" fundraiser for the National MS Society May 11-13 at Yellowbeards Tavern, 101 12th St. in Vienna. The rock music starts Friday night, continues at 11 a.m. Saturday and picks up again on Sunday with country music, Bowman said. Tickets are available at Yellowbeards, West Virginia Central Credit Union and Sound Exchange.
Meanwhile, Sims is gathering sponsors, golfers and volunteers for the second annual "Kiss My Ms" charity golf scramble July 28 at Worthington Golf Club.
Last year's inaugural event at Worthington raised $12,000 for the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America. Sims and her husband, Jason Bauer, started and directed the fundraiser, with the help of friends and family, and are excited about growing this year's event. Call (740) 568-8552 for golf scramble information.
Sims, 35, was diagnosed with MS last year. She will be participating in the local Walk MS and the Bike MS in Ohio in August.
A new ingredient will be added to Mother Earth Foods' Earth Day celebration on April 22-Health Nut Brown ale. Mother Earth Foods of Parkersburg collaborated with the North End Tavern and Brewery to produce a "healthy" ale for the environmental awareness day from noon-4 p.m. at the store on 19th Street. Dave Hawkins, Mother Earth Foods owner, brought hazelnuts and blackstrap molasses to N.E.T. brewer Chris Hopkins to use for the gluten-free beverage. Only a sampling of the ale will be provided at the Earth Day event, but Health Nut Brown will be sold at the N.E.T. as one of its specialty beers and ales. Mother Earth Foods also will be giving away tree seedlings, product samples and gourmet pizza by Wing King Catering on April 22.
Chad Smith, executive director of the Parkersburg YMCA, called last week's mission trip to the Dominican Republic "truly amazing." Smith, his 15-year-old daughter Susie and 13 other members of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Parkersburg did construction work at a San Cristobal church, painted a church-owned center and set up Vacation Bible Schools for children in the Caribbean country. The local group visited a boys orphanage and several villages, including Haitian villages in the sugar cane fields that had no running water or electricity. A program of photographs, songs and a skit relating to the Dominican Republic mission trip will take place at the 10:45 a.m. Sunday service at Emmanuel Baptist Church, 1710 23rd St.
Contact Paul LaPann at firstname.lastname@example.org