Xavier and his wife, Chelsea, who was diagnosed with MS last year.
Sunday, May 30, is World MS Day which brings the global multiple sclerosis community together to share stories, raise awareness and campaign for those affected by MS. Activities on World MS Day occur throughout the whole month of May and into the start of June. For 2020 through to 2022, the theme for the day is Connections. Here the campaign focuses on building community connections, self-connection and connections to quality care.
Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40, and it’s two to three times more common in women than men. Mornington Peninsula resident Chelsea Rittman was diagnosed with MS last year and got on board with the MS Virtual Walk Run + Roll in October. She achieved a remarkable result, being the top fundraising individual with a total of $6923, and in the top fundraising team with an impressive total of $9488.
MS is one of the most common diseases of the central nervous system. It’s estimated that about 2.8 million people around the world have MS. It’s an inflammatory demyelinating condition that is caused by damage to myelin, a fatty material that insulates nerves. In MS, the loss of myelin affects the way nerves conduct electrical impulses to and from the brain. Symptoms of MS can include weak limbs, memory problems, fatigue, blurred vision, tingling sensations, and unsteadiness. There is no drug that can cure MS, but treatments are available that can modify the course of the disease.
Chelsea’s husband Xavier Rittman and friend Clay Byrnes completed a 42km walk in February last year from Mornington to Cheltenham – just because. This year they’re putting their spontaneous silly ideas to good use and will be completing a 50km walk on Saturday, May 15, as part of The May 50k to raise money for and awareness of MS. For this mighty walk they’ll begin at the top of Olivers Hill and will endeavour to reach Crown in the Melbourne CBD for a well-deserved frothy – even though they may have had a few along the way for energy because hydration is key. The dedicated duo are also open to anyone willing to join them on the journey, cheer them on or partake for a portion of the hike.
“We plan on making this an annual event and hope to grow it every year,” Xavier said.
Let’s get behind them again this year and help them achieve their new fundraising goal by donating to their team, Leathemrittman, via www.themay50k.org/fundraisers/LeathemRittman6000