Meridian woman uses diagnosis as energy for finding MS cure

MERIDIAN, Idaho (KBOI) - Teams are raising money in the last few days before Walk MS. A Meridian woman is turning her diagnosis into energy to fight back against multiple sclerosis.

Laurel Lewis, a real estate agent who KBOI 2News first interviewed last month, said she hopes to bring in $6,000 to find a cure and she's almost there.

Several years ago, her thinking started to slow, and she would forget recent events. After years of strange symptoms and four doctors, multiple sclerosis was the diagnosis.

"I think most people think MS is all physical," Lewis said, "because almost always, when I tell somebody I have MS, they say, 'Oh, but you look so good,' and that's actually a running joke with MS Society because everybody thinks that, that it's very physical, that it makes it so you can't walk or puts you in a wheelchair."

Lewis said for her, MS is mostly a mental battle. Severe headaches and fatigue are her daily reality.

"My husband told me I could not raise $2,000, and if I did, he would wear a tutu on the walk," she said. "I have raised more than $2,000, so then he moved it up to $4,000 and said he would wear a hot pink wig."

After raising more than $5,000, she said her husband, Randy Lewis, will sport the pink wig and tutu Saturday at Julia Davis Park.

"I think people tend to say, 'Oh, well, it's really neat that she's fundraising. She has MS. That's really sad for her. She's fundraising because it's important to her,' but I think that people don't have any idea tomorrow, you could know a very close family member. It could be you."

Lewis said a woman contacted her within 24 hours of seeing the KBOI 2News story in March. She had experienced symptoms since 1984, and a day after talking to Lewis, had booked a flight to Seattle and an appointment with the neurologist who told Lewis she had MS. Soon afterward, the woman was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

"I had no idea how big of an impact doing this story was going to make," Lewis said.

Laurel Lewis is hopeful, with enough cash behind them, researchers will find a cure within her lifetime.

Donate to Laurel's "Pretty Princess Parade" Team. You can also join Chris Nettleton, KBOI 2 Sports Director, at the Walk MS event in Boise April 19.