My name is Kathy Young and I was diagnosed with MS in 2008. Once the initial shock wore off, I realized that I had a choice – I could either let this disease take control of me – or I could take control of this disease. By virtue of the fact that I’m here today, you know which one I chose. While those of us in the MS community did nothing to bring it on – there’s much we can do to stave it off. Attitude is everything. I realized pretty quickly that MS is not a death sentence – it is, however, for now, a life sentence. But it can be a very full and happy life led with the help and support of people who really care, people who devote their lives to helping those of us who need it and to finding a cure – people like those at the MS Society and people like you, who are raising the money that we need to beat this thing. And beat it we will. With each step, we’re gaining on it. With each dollar, we’re learning about it; with each dream of a better tomorrow, we’re reaching beyond it. When I told my friends and family that I was going to walk 30 miles, they all asked why. I told them “I walk because I can – and for those who can’t – because every step is a gift and every step is one step closer to a cure.” We don’t have a choice – we have to fight. Special thanks to those of you who do have a choice and choose to help. I’m very blessed to have the family support that I have. My sister-in-law Cheri is here walking with me and my husband T.J. is here with our two little girls, Maggie Mae and Reagan. These girls are seeing firsthand what people can do to affect change. How working together toward a common goal makes it both uncommon and attainable. I’m proud of what we’re showing them this weekend. We’re sending a message within our community, on to Washington and out to the whole world that says “we’re MS warriors – we’re strong, we’re united and we’re going to win this battle I wrote a song several years prior to being diagnosed. I find it ironic – even prophetic – on this special weekend. It’s called “Wash Your Mouth Out with Hope.” And the chorus says: “Wash your mouth out with hope, get better, not bitter; You may not believe it now but keep on tryin’ just fake it till you make it now; Wash your mouth out with hope, get better, not bitter; You’ve got to talk the talk before you ever even get to walk the walk. Thanks for taking this walk with me, for raising money and awareness of MS. Together, we’re going to beat this thing..In the meantime, we’ll be talking the talk and walking the walk – together. As we walk through history this weekend, we emerge in to a bright future – one that will be free of MS. Let’s light the way. MS warriors – in the name of hope, please light your candles.