Still fighting MS

Kathryn Eastburn, Staff Writer, Greenwood Commonwealth

Their fast time walking and raising money to end multiple sclerosis, Edward “Chine” Course, his wife, Linda, and their Team Chine raised more than $5,000.

Edward Course’s sister and brother, Katie and Terrance, from Jackson and Vaiden respectively, helped pull together the team for the April 21 MS Walk for Mississippi, a function of the National MS Society, held at Trust-mark Park in Pearl.

Of the top 20 fundraising teams at the event, Team Chine placed third in the amount of money raised.

“It was friends and family, people from our church, everybody we knew who gave money,” Edward said.

The Courses wanted to give back and join the fight against multiple sclerosis. Advances have been made in treatment in the 37 years since Edward was diagnosed with MS.

He continues to battle its effects daily. Despite his advanced symptoms, he walked the course around the baseball park with his team and proudly displayed the plaque presented to Team Chine on a recent afternoon at his Greenwood home.

Multiple sclerosis involves the immune system and the central nervous system, causing acute inflammation and, ultimately, neurodegeneration, affecting the spine and the brain.

Most people have a type called relapsing-remitting MS that usually starts in a patient’s 20s or 30s. Flare-ups are typically followed by remission that can last for weeks, months or even longer. Eventually, after decades of relapsing MS, patients can develop secondary progressive MS, in which the disease gets gradually worse.

For some, progressive MS comes earlier. Symptoms are wide-ranging.

“One day you’re up doing everything you want to do today, and the next day you’re down,” Course said.

“It affects everything — your vision, your walk, your talk, and even your emotions, how you’re feeling.”

Linda Course said she and Edward are grateful for their neurologist in Greenwood, Dr. Ravi Pande, who pointed out to Edward that the down feelings he was experiencing were a direct result of the disease.

“He told Edward, ‘Look, you’re an active man, and MS has taken a lot away from you. What you’re experiencing is depression,” Linda said.

“He pulled that out of Edward.”

He said, “When I first started having symptoms, my mother told me about a neurologist who, at that time, was coming to Greenwood on
Wednesdays.”

“When I got my diagnosis, he told me there’s no cure and no medicine that will help.”

Edward, who is 66 now, was 29 when he was diagnosed.

Under Dr. Pande’s care, he has tried new medications and has been able to participate in programs that helped pay for some medications.

No two people experience MS in the exact same way, because the disease affects different areas of the spine or brain in each person.

Symptoms can range from sensitivity to heat, dizziness and stiff muscles to confusion and problems with balance or coordination.

On Tuesday, at The Alluvian, Dr. Ruth Fredericks of St. Dominic Neurosciences in Jackson will give a talk on “Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis.” The talk, which begins at 6 p.m., is open to the public.