Walking for a cause on May 1: Tuorila battles MS for past 25 years
by Karin L. Nauber
For Nancy Tuorila of Eagle Bend finding out that she had something wrong began with losing her eyesight in her left eye.
She was treated for a sinus infection because the doctors didn’t really know what was going on at that time.
When they discovered a bulge in her eye, she was immediately taken to the hospital in Alexandria and then to the Twin Cities where multiple tests were performed.
They tested her for multiple conditions including Lyme Disease, arthritis, and Lupus as they all have similar symptoms to another disease.
That disease—the one it turned out that Nancy has—is multiple sclerosis or more commonly known by its abbreviation, MS.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system).
“In MS, the immune system attacks the protective sheath (myelin) that covers nerve fibers and causes communication problems between your brain and the rest of your body. Eventually, the disease can cause permanent damage or deterioration of the nerves.
“Signs and symptoms of MS vary widely and depend on the amount of nerve damage and which nerves are affected. Some people with severe MS may lose the ability to walk independently or at all, while others may experience long periods of remission without any new symptoms.”
Many of us would probably never know that Nancy has MS. However, just because she doesn’t show it, doesn’t mean that she does not suffer from the disease.
She spends every day in a silent battle with symptoms—although some days are much better than others.
When she returned home from her initial trip to the Twin Cities and was diagnosed with MS an IV line was inserted into her arm and she had liquid prednisone. Her friend Kathy Mittag helped her with it.
The prednisone worked to bring her eyesight back and she was also able to see color again.
“There were and are so many wonderful people who have helped me over the past 25 years,” said Nancy with a huge and loving smile on her face. The one most of us have come to know and love.
Nancy worked at the Clarissa and Eagle Valley school districts for 38 years. If you went to school there or had children that attended there, you knew and undoubtedly loved Nancy!
For the majority of her work life, she struggled, often silently with her condition.
She lost her sense of taste at one point.
“People would bring me different things to try to help me get my taste back. But then I started to get sores in my mouth,” she noted.
Caring for herself included having a beta serum injection every other day up until about four years ago when she began a pill form.
Nancy experiences tremors, numbness, tingling sensations, and a racing heart all as parts of the illness.
At the present time, she has an active MS lesion affecting her brain which had been dormant for quite a while.
This has been affecting her memory.
But throughout all of this, Nancy maintains her positive attitude. She remains thankful for the good in life and appreciates and is grateful for the many friends and family members who help her with the things she may not be able to do so well anymore.
“My kids and grandkids have kept me going,” she said.
And not just her own kids, but the hundreds of children she has been honored to work with over her many years at the school.
Currently, Nancy babysits three days a week.
While there is no cure for MS at this time, there are treatments that can help speed up the recovery from the attacks, modify the course of the disease and manage the symptoms.
The MS walk that will take place at Nelson Park on Saturday, May 1 is to raise money to help find a cure.
For the last six years, the members of Team Nancy Tuorila have walked at the Apollo High School in St. Cloud. This year they will be closer to home which is okay with Nancy.
These types of walks to raise not only money but also awareness are happening all over the United States during the month of May.
If you would like to help raise funds, you can either donate online by going to the donations page on the Walk MS: St. Cloud 2021 site.
You can also donate in person by cash or check on the day of the walk in Eagle Bend and the funds will be forwarded to the St. Cloud Campaign. You can register for the walk that day and show your support for Nancy by taking a step with her on Saturday, May 1 at 11 a.m. at Nelson Park in Eagle Bend.
So far, Team Nancy Tuorila has raised over $700 and is one of the top 50 teams!
You can type “Team Nancy Tuorila” into your search bar on Google and it will bring you to the page (or click the above link).
You are encouraged to wear an orange shirt as that is the MS walk color.
Bring a bag or picnic lunch and refreshments to the walk and participate in some social time after the walk.