10K walker leads the way for MS cause

Allison and John Faiella will be taking part in the Bermuda Marathon Weekend 10K today to raise money for multiple sclerosis sufferers on the Island. Allison was diagnosed with the illness and wants to help others get access to important drugs to treat it. Photo by Mark Tatem
By Nadia Arandjelovic
A young multiple sclerosis sufferer is stepping out on a fundraising walk today to help others with the disease.
Allison Faiella, 30, was diagnosed six years ago with MS, a potentially debilitating illness that results in deterioration of the nerves.
The Butterfield Bank employee and her parents, John and Barbara, are now set to compete in the International Race Weekend 10K in aid of others grappling with the disease.
Ms Faiella admits she lives a “very good life” thanks to prescription drugs and regular specialist check-ups in Boston.
But she said she sympathises with patients who can’t afford to pay the $2,700 each month to treat the illness.
She told The Royal Gazette: “I am fortunate to have insurance which covers 80 percent of the cost. It leaves me with a balance of $540 a month.
“The problem is a lot of other people don’t have insurance and there is no way they can afford the [prescription medication].
“Even the ones with insurance still have to come up with the remaining costs.”
Her family decided to help and have so far raised $11,500 for the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Bermuda.
They are appealing to the public to help raise more money, which will help 15 needy patients pay for necessary treatment throughout the year.
Mr Faiella, 60, said without these prescription medicines and specialist visits the standard of life for patients could decrease significantly.
In the most severe cases people can lose the ability to walk or speak. But most often the illness is characterised by joint numbness, fatigue and blurred vision.
Ms Faiella was diagnosed with MS after experiencing eye problems and said the initial prognosis was “devastating”.
She hopes participating in the walk will help educate people about MS and show others they are not alone.
She admitted to being excited for tomorrow’s event and hopes to make a positive difference in the lives of other suffers.
“I am excited to raise money so people can afford the medication they need as that is half the battle. [My access to medication] is the reason why I am healthy today and not having any problems.
“I truly believe that and if more people could afford it we could probably prevent them from going downhill.”
For more information or to find out how you can donate e-mail Mr Faiella at: mandalay[AT]transact.bm.