Several hundred people and approximately 30 classic cars showed up to support the Vermilion A&W location as they hosted Burgers To Beat MS on August 16.
Ann-Dee Nunweiler, Lloydminster MS Chapter Program and Services Coordinator said, “A & W is our largest corporate sponsor and an important factor in helping us raise funds for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) awareness and research, as well as advocacy and programs or services in the community. The Lloydminster MS Chapter covers a huge area including Vermilion, Lloydminster, Paradise Hill, and Maidstone. One hundred per cent of funds raised goes to MS National, and this year their goal was $2 million. In Alberta, 11,000 people live with MS.”
One such Albertan is 23-year-old Nicole Mauws who lives on a farm near Paradise Valley. Mauws was diagnosed with MS at 16 years of age and began her tier 1 medication of daily injections for eight months. She continued getting attacks which included really bad numbness and balance issues which were extremely difficult as, at the time, she was a competitive figure skater. From the age of 14, Mauws had lived in Sherwood Park and schooled at Vimy Ridge Academy in Edmonton to accommodate her skating.
“My MS got pretty bad at age 17, so I had to quit skating for a year and seemed okay with fewer symptoms. After I graduated in 2013, I attended Reeve’s College in Edmonton where I had a really bad attack in July of 2014 and was paralyzed for three days. I took a leave of absence from school for two months and went back, graduating in March of 2015.
I then worked at an engineering company in Calgary for two years. During this time, my MS was okay, only having a couple more attacks that caused fatigue, numbness, and for me to be very unbalanced. I also suffered a lot of mental anxiety and depression, and was laid off due to the recession in November of 2016. I remained on a 2nd tier treatment for about three years. In January of 2017, with circumstances causing suicidal thoughts, and anxiety attacks, I had a stay at the Ponoka Centennial Centre for Mental Health and Brain Injury.”
Mauws moved back to Sherwood Park in search of work, as she was not receiving any financial government assistance.
“Having MS, you really have to analyze what you are going to do for a job. Finding a low-stress job where your employer is going to truly understand is difficult. It was really a challenge to call in when I was not feeling good. I managed to work at a vape shop for almost a year before losing a cousin at the age of 25 who had Diabetes and had contracted the MRSA Virus. Seventeen days later, I had an uncle pass away and being overwhelmed with loss, I decided to move home to the family farm near Paradise Valley,” explained Mauws.
Within the past few months she decided to go Vegan and had been regularly going to the gym. With her competitive figure skating nature, she realized she was pushing herself too hard, and decided to cancel her membership and practice yoga and work on her mental health. She also enjoys going to the beach at Lindsay A. Evans Park.
“It’s a great getaway. Being at home depending on my parents is difficult after being on my own for so long,” said Mauws.
Mauws enjoyed having supper at A&W in Vermilion on August 16, with her niece and nephew Lily and Zack Ducharm who were visiting from Vernon, British Columbia. After their month’s visit, she looks forward to travelling back with them to go hiking, as the mountains are her peaceful place. Mauws is also planning on beginning a 3rd tier treatment which is much like chemotherapy. It is expected to have a five-day treatment course which will make her sick for the 4 - 6 weeks following.
“The success rate is really good,” said Mauws who is thinking of getting into blogging to share her treatment in the hopes of helping others.