AGUA DULCE – A local family is hoping to bring in a lot of green this St. Patrick’s Day. They’re hosting a party to benefit Lancaster’s Walk MS, the event that raises money for multiple sclerosis research and services for local families.
Matthew Wooten, 29, and his sister Courtney, 28, were both diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) exactly one month after their 17th birthdays. Matthew co-owns Sweetwater Café in Agua Dulce with his mother, Kimberle. He says, “I want to give back and support the organization that has supported me, and helped me and my family for the past 13 years.”
Matthew was diagnosed with MS after losing feeling in his face in 2001. His sister, Courtney, just started her senior year in high school when she lost vision in her right eye. She, too, was diagnosed with MS in 2002, but her neurologist said she was young and her life would return to normal.
“A year later, I was back in his office. It went that way for about nine years,” Courtney explained. “I had an exacerbation [MS attack] every eight to ten months, with the recovery time taking longer and longer.”
Although no cure for MS currently exists, both Matthew and Courtney say life has become better, but the disease is always on their minds. “I never know when I’m going to wake up and not be able to see or feel something. The uncertainty and the not knowing why is what drives you crazy,” Courtney said.
So, they’re doing what they can to support MS research, along with the programs and services provided by the National MS Society, by participating in Walk MS taking place Saturday, May 3 at the Lancaster Marketplace. Courtney says she walks “because I need to believe there is hope in numbers, instead of desperation, and that we will win this. We have to; our lives depend on it.”
The Wootens’ team, “Walking Winos,” is hosting a St. Patrick’s Day fundraiser to benefit Walk MS from 5 to 9 p.m. this Monday, March 17 at the Sweetwater Café, located at 33310 Agua Dulce Canyon Road in Agua Dulce.
Residents can support the effort by purchasing any food item on the menu. In addition to their regular menu, they will be offering specials, such as corn beef cabbage and soda bread. The Wooten family will donate a portion of the entire evening’s proceeds to the National MS Society, an organization Courtney says has helped her with her diagnosis.
“I have found the Society to be fundamental in my disease because it allows me to stay on track of all the new medications, find support groups, connect with other people my age who have MS, and to generally feel like I’m not fighting this fight alone,” Courtney said.
For more information on Walk MS or the National MS Society, call 800.FIGHT.MS (1.800.344.4867) or visit www.nationalMSsociety.org/cal.
Previous related story: Walking together to create a world free of MS