The former coach runs five miles a day on a treadmill, and can walk as fast as anyone else in his family while he’s pushing his granddaughter’s stroller.
But Dennis Arner’s multiple sclerosis has caused such severe dementia that he remembers nothing about his childhood or his father other than him lying in a coffin, he said Saturday at the annual MS Walk in Morad Park along the North Platte River.
Arner, 50, pushed his granddaughter Kyleigh, flanked by his daughter-in-law Nicole Arner, and his wife, Karla.
When Arner was 35 in 1995, he woke up one day with flu-like symptoms, drove his car through intersections with stop signs, and couldn’t find his house, he told about 100 participants gathered for the walk.
After being diagnosed with incurable MS, he couldn’t work for two-and-a-half years, he said. “I hit rock bottom.”
He had been a coach for Casper Youth Baseball and for the Natrona County School District.
Arner fought back and worked another 13 years before becoming disabled in February 2009, he said.
Before the walk, Cheryl Seaberg of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society told the crowd the Cheyenne-based state organization is conducting eight walks in Wyoming this spring.
Participants, Seaberg said, raise money for financial assistance to buy wheelchairs and walkers, and for research that may find a cure for the chronic disease that attacks the central nervous system -the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves -when the body’s own immune system attacks the fatty tissue protecting the nerve fibers.
“We know this is a very expensive disease, she said.
Saturday’s MS walk raised about $5,000, Arner said.
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