The numbness started while Val MacKinlay was on vacation in England more than 30 years ago.
The lack of sensation didn’t happen right away, but slowly spread across her right shoulder and down to her toes, said MacKinlay, 55.
“After a couple of days, I was completely numb. But I didn’t say anything; I just waited until I got home. Everything still worked, there was just no feeling,” she said.
It turns out MacKinlay had MS. On Sunday she took part in her seventh Scotiabank MS Walk.
MacKinlay and a team of residents and staff from her home at The Hamlets at Westsyde joined more than 460 walkers and runners outside Interior Savings Centre for the annual event.
Music played while participants stretched before embarking en masse on a series of routes, ranging from one to 10 kilometres in length.
MacKinlay watched them from her wheelchair and described going to a doctor when she returned from England. The doctor stuck her with pins.
“He started touching the bad foot and I didn’t know he was doing anything. He touched the good foot and I shot off the table,” said MacKinlay. “It was pretty numb alright.”
She lived in denial for years because the numbness would come and go. She said it was only after she lost all sensation in her legs that the severity of MS really set in.
“It kind of caught up with me,” she said.
MacKinlay turned to the Kamloops and Area Chapter of the MS Society for help. There was no such group when she was diagnosed. Had there been, things might have been different, she said.
Her sister, Barb Lennie, travelled from Inuvik, N.W.T. to join MacKinlay for the walk. MacKinlay lives alone, and could use the support, said Lennie.
Lennie said her mom also had MS, so the family is well aware of the disease.
Participants raised $70,300 toward services and research Sunday, and more money is coming in. Chapter manager Trina Radford said the amount slightly exceeds last year’s total.
She said more than 32 teams, 100 volunteers and some sunshine made the day a huge success.