KAREN Murray knows firsthand the effect Multiple Sclerosis has on a person’s life. After a close family friend was diagnosed with the disease 17 years ago, Murray has been witness to just how invasive the debilitating condition can be.
“My son’s godfather was diagnosed when he was 30-years-old and he was very fit person at the time,” Murray said.
“Once he was diagnosed he had certain things start to go wrong. He had problems with his eyesight and he started dropping things.
“He had to stop driving, he couldn’t pursue his career anymore and he’s had periods where he’s been in a wheelchair.”
Seeing someone so close to her struck down by the disease proved the catalyst for Murray to become involved in fundraising activities for the MS Society of Australia.
Last weekend, Murray was part of the Queanbeyan Masters and Mistresses swim team that raised more than $5000 for the MS Society at the annual 24 Hour Mega Swim held at the AIS.
To see The Queanbeyan Age photo gallery of last weekend's Mega Swim, click, here.
Overall, this year’s Mega Swim has so far raised $136,000 with the final tally expected to exceed that amount.
A teacher at Jerrabomberra Public, Murray has spent the past several years as coordinator of the school’s MS Readathon, the charity’s major annual fundraiser.
But this year Murray said she’d been keen to dedicate herself personally to the cause.
“When [the Mega Swim] was brought to my attention through friends I thought it was a way I could get involved personally rather than getting others involved through something like the Readathon,” she said.
The Masters and Mistresses were one of two Queanbeyan teams that took part in the event alongside the Jerra Rotary Rascals.
The Rotary Club of Jerrabomberra has played a major role in organising the Mega Swim since its inception providing administrative support and entertainment on the day.
Queanbeyan Rotary Club and the Rotary Club of Queanbeyan West also lent their support to the effort.
Rascals captain Anne Davis said the team had raised more than $7000, easily surpassing their pre-event goal.
“Some of the people who were sponsors this year approached me wanting to swim next year so we’ll definitely be back next time,” Davis said.