Man walks 100 miles for a friend with MS
Published Sunday, April 5, 2020 2:58PM EDT Last Updated Sunday, April 5, 2020 6:50PM EDT
LONDON, ONT. -- Dennis Smith, a Windsor native, is walking from London to Windsor to raise money for a friend affected by Multiple sclerosis.
MS is a potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord.
On Friday at 4 a.m., Smith began The Hope Walk from his home in London with the goal to reach his mother’s house in Windsor - a 101 mile journey.
He has been documenting his journey through live videos on social media.
Smith’s close family friend, Melissa McNamara, 37, a wife and mother of two, was diagnosed with MS two years ago.
“I followed her journey online, she was always super positive. She was trying to raise awareness for MS,” says Smith.
By 2019, the aggressive progression of the disease took away her mobility, speech and vision. “She’s had to learn how to walk again; she’s had to learn how to talk again,” Smith says.
A GoFundMe page was launched by McNamara’s friends to support her family through the challenging road to recovery. So far more than $10,000 has been raised.
“I figured if I could draw some attention by doing something that just sounded crazy, maybe it would be enough for people to want to pay attention and help raise some awareness for the family,” says Smith.
That’s when the idea of a 101-mile walk came to fruition. “I managed to do 50 miles in 24 hours, probably stopped about five times.”
The journey will all come to end on Sunday evening with a special surprise planned for McNamara’s family.
“We are doing to do a drive by her house. We got everyone making signs, we’re going to honk our horns, do some laps and let her know that we love her.”
Smith says he’s touched by the response from the community during the coronavirus pandemic. “At a time where so many people aren’t even able to work, concerned about how their going to pay their bills, that they're still figuring out a way to try and contribute to this cause.”