MS affects more than just the person

By Jessica Dempsey

April 25, 2018 2:04 PM

Brett Coe (right) and his son Trace take part in a past Jayman BUILT MS walk with support from Brett’s mom. SUPPLIED PHOTO

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Lloydminster Jayman BUILT MS Walk, and while they are raising money for research, advocacy and programs and services, it’s also about empowering those that are affected by Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
However, it’s not just those that have MS who are affected. Families are impacted immensely when it comes to dealing with the disease.
One of those faces, right here in the area are the Coe family, who lives in Marshall, Sask.
Brett along with his wife Chelsey and their two kids Ashlynn, 8,  and Trace, 6, have been living life to the fullest since he was diagnosed five years ago.
“I couldn’t even hold onto a cigarette … I was dropping things all the time, shortness of breath, just the whole body felt terrible,” he explained.
He found out with his wife that he was diagnosed with MS, and then got in contact with the Lloydminster MS Society right away.
“We figured out how to tell the kids,” Brett said about coming to the society, and with that, took advantage of resources by sending his kids to the Kids Camp they hold every year to learn more about what their father was going through.
When he first told his kids, he said they were okay, but worried about him.
“Ashlynn has always been a kind-hearted girl, and my son was too young to realize, but now he’s getting it. He understands sometimes dad can’t do certain things, I’m tired sometimes, you can’t jump all over me,” he said.
As for his wife, well he said she took the diagnosis head-on.
“Me and her joined the MS Society, and now she is part of the MS walk committee and she has been really good,” Brett explained.
His wife has been by his side the entire time, and at one point was looking to get Brett a motorcycle, when asked what Brett would do with it, Chelsey responded the only way she could “He can have whatever he wants, because we don’t know if tomorrow he will be able to ride it.”
For Brett, his hands have been affected most by the disease.
“They are always tingly and always numb, and I have really terrible circulation now,” he added.
In the first week that he joined the MS Society, he got in contact with another member who has been diagnosed with the disease for years.
“Right away, I just called him. I was like ‘I need to know what can happen? What has happened to you? What are your experiences? and get more information about what could happen to me,’” he said.
That call, Brett said was completely beneficial.
“It put my mind at ease, it was a little scary because it’s so daunting. A lot of people that have it, either go downhill really fast or they have one or two relapses and they are fine. The scariest part about it is you don’t know what’s coming for you,” he said.
As for other families that might be going through something similar, or someone who has just been diagnosed, Brett has one thing to say to them.
“Call me, anytime. I’m here to help anybody that has it, share my experience with anybody,” he said.
“Your life isn’t over, it’s just changing. You need to find a different way to do things, it can be a little more difficult at times, but you can do it.”
May 5 will be the big anniversary of the MS Walk, and nearly 400 participants will come together to show their support in beating this disease.
“Come to the walk, show your support and have a great time. It’s a really good place and a good time for everybody,” said Brett.
You can register up until the day before online at www.mswalk.ca, or they can register the day of the walk with a $20 fee.

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