By Jim Krencik
Medina Journal-Register — MEDINA — Steve Gray has had a lot to celebrate in the past year, from a wedding last summer to the news that his wife is expecting their first child this summer. But he’s also thankful for his health and his role in raising awareness of multiple sclerosis.
Gray was diagnosed in 2011 with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, which he is treating with daily injections of medication and a new lifestyle. It’s not an easy task, but one that he is achieving with the support of his close-knit and growing family.
”This has been a blessing in surprise, looking at life differently,” Gray said. “I’m trying to be happy and laugh as much as possible, and I’m much more educated about health. That’s spread to my family.”
And to his community. Last year, the Grays raised more than $7,000 for the Multiple Sclerosis Society through a community basket raffle. This year they are adding a bowling tournament to the event, which will be held April 6 at Medina Lanes, 11249 Maple Ridge Road.
Three-person team no-tap bowling tournaments are being held at 1 3 and 5 p.m. with cash prizes for the top finishers. Pre-registration costs $40 a team, with those proceeds to be added to a raffle that Steve hopes tops more than a hundred baskets.
”After last year, we thought about what could we do to make it better and raise more money,” Steve said. “There’s been a great response so far.”
Those wishing to contribute a basket to the event can call 716-474-2838 to organize their donation.
For the Gray family, promoting efforts to assist those with MS and raise funds for medical research is a cause they’ve committed too. Jerry Gray, Steve’s father, said participating in events like basket raffle and the Lockport Walk MS event have been empowering experiences.
”This disease can make you feel hopeless, but this gives us a little of that power back,” Jerry said. “We want to do everything that we can do for Steve and a lot of other people. The money raised in past years helped our son. Twenty years ago there wasn’t the knowledge ... and this will help them down the road.”
Those with multiple sclerosis can be effected be a wide range of debilitating pains. Steve said he’s been lucky, which is why the event is designed to help others.
“I still have fatigue and vision problems, soreness, but I’ve learn to stop when my body tells me to,” Steve said. “The symptoms can be much, much worse ... I caught it early. I have symptoms but nothing compared to other people.”
“This isn’t for me ... all the funds are going towards finding a cure and to helping people in their homes, touching them at a personal level,” Steve continued. “I just do it for them.”
He also hopes that people are encouraged by the event to be proactive about MS.
“Be aware if you have any symptoms, don’t wait, get out there and talk to your doctor,” Steve said. “Too many people wait until its too late.”