A dad who has lived with multiple sclerosis (MS) for the past 18 years stood on the Douglas Park Spirit stage to share his story on April 27.
MS ambassador Chris Hunger, along with roughly 160 others, showed their support for the 2014 Scotiabank MS Walk in Langley.
Their goal was to raise awareness while helping to find a cure for a disease that impacts 100,000 Canadians.
The walk in support of the MS Society of Canada takes place in more than 160 communities across the country.
In B.C., more than 6,000 people raised roughly $1.3 million in pledges.
In Langley, more than $25,000 was raised for the cause.
Under a partly sunny sky, Hunger was one of the Langley participants.
He said life with MS is â€œan ongoing battle,â€ one that started in November, 1996, when he was 24 years old.
â€œIt all started for me in the shower, having one arm colder than the other,â€ he said. â€œI knew something was wrong.â€
Since then he has experienced numbness, exhaustion, vision problems, memory loss, muscle spasms, and depression â€“ all symptoms of MS.
Heâ€™s currently on long term disability, a difficult decision to make.
â€œNow I am a full-time dad and my wifeâ€™s trophy husband,â€ he joked.
Hunger said, because of the effects of MS, such as a feeling of being off balance, slurred speech, and vertigo, he has been accused of being drunk.
He added that every day, three people are diagnosed with MS, a chronic, disabling disease of the brain and spinal chord.
Most are diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 40 and the unpredictable effects of MS will last for the rest of their lives.
Hunger has a strong support system through his wife, children, family and friends.
After the birth of the coupleâ€™s son and the progression of Hungerâ€™s disease, he and his wife decided to join the Langley MS Walk.
â€œFundraising and bringing awareness seemed like the right thing to do,â€ he said.
Team Hunger was formed and has grown every year, from 15 people to more than 75 friends and family.
Hunger said social media bombards people with images of who, what and how we should look, how we should love and work, and how we should be happy.
â€œHappiness for me lies in the realization that I have been blessed with a loving, supportive family and close group of friends who pray for me and help me focus on what is truly important in my daily life,â€ he said.
Hunger says he is â€œone of the lucky ones,â€ able to get up in the morning, walk, eat, talk, drive his kids to school, volunteer at their school and with their sports.
His hope is to continue to walk as captain of Team Hunger and that his team will increase in numbers and strength in the search for a cure to the disease.
Langley participants walked, ran, or wheeled routes of 1.5, three, or five kilometres, beginning and ending in Douglas Park.
Guests included Hunger, She Says Electric, which provided live music entertainment, and Body Buster Fitness, which led the warm-up.
Langley City Mayor Ted Schaffer said a few words to start the event.