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Annie Coons is Women Against MS Honorary Chair

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After her college roommate was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Annie Coons was inspired to join the fight against the debilitating disease.

That was six years ago. Since then, Coons and her husband, U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, have participated in runs for MS on Thanksgiving Day, taped a public service announcement and taken part in other fundraisers.

Annie Coons is currently serving as honorary chair for an event in October to benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and its Delaware chapter. “My friend is an incredible young woman,” Coons says. “She is raising two daughters and she is unable to work. Watching her … I want to do whatever I can to help make a difference.”

In Delaware, more than 1,550 people are living with MS. In the United States, nearly two-thirds of people with MS are women. The rate is even higher in Delaware as 75 percent of those diagnosed are women. There is no known cause or cure for MS, which affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord and can cause impairment of speech and muscle coordination, numbness, blurred vision and extreme fatigue.

Coons says her friend began experiencing symptoms at age 23 and was diagnosed at age 40. The woman, who has two daughters, worked part time but as the disease progressed, she had to stop working.

The Women Against MS event is set for Oct. 3 at the UD Goodstay Center in Wilmington. The goal is to raise $30,000 to fund national MS research and provide services to Delawareans living with MS. The MSquerade Ball is Nov. 9. (nationalmssociety.org/chapters/DED/index.aspx)  —Drew Ostroski

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