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South Surrey woman honours mother at Walk for MS

Rita Thompson (left), with daughter Lori, has been battling multiple sclerosis since she was diagnosed with the disease four decades ago.  - Contributed photo
Rita Thompson (left), with daughter Lori, has been battling multiple sclerosis since she was diagnosed with the disease four decades ago.
— image credit: Contributed photo

When she was around eight years old, Lori Thompson found out why her mother, Rita, had begun using a cane.

“I knew something was wrong,” Thompson recalls.

She and her older sister, Lisa were introduced to Rita Thompson’s neurologist, who then explained their mother has a progressive form of multiple sclerosis, an incurable disease of the central nervous system that makes a person increasingly weak.

It’s estimated the neurological disease affects 55,000-75,000 Canadians.

As Rita Thompson’s condition worsened, she went from her cane to a walker and eventually a wheelchair.

Her daughter says her mother has taught her a lot about tenacity and perseverance.

“I have such a tremendous amount of admiration and respect for how she’s lived with this disease for 40 years.”

So has her father, Gary, who has been an example of unconditional love and support, Lori Thompson says.

Her parents plan to celebrate their 46th wedding anniversary this year with a trip to Lake Chelan, Wash., a favourite getaway destination.

While her mother and father waged their battle with MS, Lori Thompson took up the fight in her own way, forming a family team in the annual Scotiabank Walk for MS.

For 10 years, Team Rita has been one of the most successful local fundraisers for the cause.

Last year, at their first-ever pub night, Team Rita boosted their donations to more than $11,000.

That sum accounted for a third of all donations raised in the White Rock area.

They’re holding a second pub night this year at Baselines Pub in South Surrey, at 300-1938 152 St. on Saturday, April 14, at 5 p.m.

The event is already sold out, but Thompson is still looking for sponsors willing to contribute items for a silent auction.

She can be reached by email at lori@mindfulmovement.ca

“Each year, I am blown away by the amount of donations our small but tight-knit community generates,” Thompson says.

“I am confident that one day we will find a cure for this disease which has affected my family’s life for years.”

The MS Walk will take place on Sunday, April 29, 10 a.m. at Bayview Park in White Rock.

Rita Thompson, who is now 65, will be participating in her wheelchair along the accessible route.

Pledge donations can be made directly online by going to www.mswalks.ca

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