It seemed like everything in Deb Tuza’s life had fallen into place.
She owned and operated her own business, which sold a smaller version of the Rhino Flashlight for women and children, that was just starting to take off and enter the commercial market. She was an active and independent person.
But, when a doctor diagnosed her with multiple sclerosis — an incurable, chronic disease of the central nervous system — in 2007, her entire life and working habits changed.
“I started going to meetings and found out they had this MS walk going,” Tuza said. “I knew I had a lot of these flashlights and started donating them to the walk.”
For the third year in a row, Tuza will donate flashlights to participants in Walk MS Sarasota. So far, she’s donated about 175 to walkers who have raised funds for the MS Society. This year, in addition to Rhino Flashlight T-shirts, she expects to donate about 145 flashlights. The donations are her way of giving back to the organization for helping her through her illness, which can cause unpredictable symptoms such as numbness, blurred vision and even paralysis. Most people are diagnosed between the ages 20 to 50, with twice as many women affected as men.
“Some people look like there’s nothing wrong,” Tuza said. “But a lot of people are wheelchair-bound, have canes and even need help getting to the doctor. But, all the funds raised locally helps these people. The least I can do is say ‘thank you.’”
Walk MS Sarasota 2011 will take place at 9 a.m. Saturday, at J.D. Hamel Park; registration begins at 8 a.m. Visit midfloridamswalks.org for more information.
IF YOU GO
Walk MS 2011
When: Registration starts at 8 a.m. Saturday, March 19, at J.D. Hamel Park; walk begins at 9 a.m.
Info: Visit www.midfloridaMSwalks.org
Contact Loren Mayo at [email protected]