Laurie Montanye does the MS Walk every year alongside her husband, Bill, who is afflicted with multiple sclerosis. She is grateful he is able to walk with the Bill’s Buddies team, but she worries how the disease will progress.
“I worry about him,” the Huntley woman said. “If someday he can’t walk or do things, I know he won’t be happy. He’s use to getting up and going.”
Which is why Montanye does the MS Walk, a major fundraiser for the National MS Society. Montanye, individually, and Bill’s Buddies, as a group, are among the top in McHenry County raising pledges, according to the National MS Society’s website.
Laurie walks to raise money for more research and to help multiple sclerosis patients and their families.
“We just keep hoping there is a cure before he gets worse,” she said.
Bill Montanye was 40 years old when he was diagnosed in 1998.
The family did not know much about multiple sclerosis, Laurie said.
Multiple sclerosis is “a chronic, often disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system, which is made up of the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves,” according to the National MS Society website.
The Montanye family learned about the disease through doctor’s appointments and seminars offered by support groups.
When Bill first was diagnosed, he was sent to Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. The hospital is really big into research, Laurie said. Doctors there told the family they felt there could be a cure for multiple sclerosis someday. It is what motivates Laurie and her family.
Bill has been able to live with multiple sclerosis without the shots patients often need, she said. He must go back in late May for a checkup.
“We are really lucky,” Laurie said. “He still works every day. He walks a lot during the day. The biggest thing is just fatigue. He just tires out a lot faster. There are some days he just doesn’t feel right.”
Bill plans to walk again this year. It will mark the family’s eighth year involved in the MS Walk. His team has special T-shirts made with a silhouette of his pride and joy, his 1967 Chevelle, on the front.
His car and his other great love, their 18-month-old granddaughter, Paige, keep him going, Laurie said.
The couple’s two sons and daughter also walk along with Bill’s parents, sister, and a nephew and his family. There are friends, too, who also walk the 2.7-mile route.
“There are people who do it who are in all progressions of MS,” Laurie said. “There are some people in wheelchairs and whatnot, but they still go out and do it.”