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Instead of moping around and worrying about the level of degradation of the disease, Olson decided to use her fight with MS as a sense of empowerment and way to help others affected by the same condition.

"The walk has been a good platform for telling my story and to ask for support and help," Olson said. "It has given me even stronger connections. People often contact me to speak to other people who have just been diagnosed. I love being able to help out."

Olson begins fundraising and preparing for the walk each year in February. So far this year, she has raised $5,300 towards her personal goal of $6,000. Her team hopes to raise $10,000.

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At just 30 years old, Olson began to feel the symptoms of what would become the inevitable. Multiple sclerosis, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system, interrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis.

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Despite the odds, Olson is able to work a regular job, exercise and spend plenty of quality time with her husband and two sons. Her MS Walk Nike Air Uptempo 2016 Release

Eden Prairie Resident and Walk MS Twin Cities Ambassador Janet Olson poses with her family at the 2012 MS Walk in Minnehaha Park. Left to right: Mitchell, Jeff, Janet and Bennett Olson.

The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 2.1 million people worldwide, according to the National MS Society.

More than 17,000 people in the upper Midwest are affected by Multiple Sclerosis, but the true number of people affected remains unknown.

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Nike Air More Uptempo Qs Chi

"When I first found out I was really concerned about Nike Air More Uptempo Qs Heat Map

Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2002, Olson says the disease has helped her develop a new perspective on life. She's committed to raising critical awareness and funds to help create a world free of MS. Her Walk MS team, the J Walkers, has raised nearly $100,000 since 2003.

There is a wide spectrum of cases. Some people with MS are stricken to a wheelchair, while others, like Eden Prairie resident Janet Olson live relatively normal lives. While grappling with a serious affliction is not easy, Olson stands tall as a spokesperson for MS and is this year's Walk MS Twin Cities Ambassador. She will be participating in her 11th Walk MS event this year.

the outcome," Olson said. "I was concerned about ending up in a wheelchair. MS is so unpredictable, but I try to appreciate everyday and enjoy time with family."

"I've learned to live more in the moment and really enjoy things as they happen," Olson said. "Having MS has actually made me want to experience life more fully."

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These are parents, neighbors, coworkers and friends who receive help from the Upper Midwest Chapter of the National MS Society, which covers Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and several counties in western Wisconsin and Nebraska. People of all ages and walks of life are affected by the degenerative disease, but there are plenty of ways to help, including the upcoming MS Walk Sunday, May 5 at Minnehaha Park Uptempo Nike Atl

in Minneapolis.

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"I just needed to do something that not only helps me, but others too," Olson said. "Being involved with the walk has given me a feeling of power."

Nike Air More Uptempo Qs Chi

Nike Air More Uptempo Qs Chi

The mother of a close friend had MS back in the 1970s, when there was little treatment available. Olson witnessed her friend's mom go through extreme pain for days on end and spent much of her days on bed rest. Years later, Olson discovered the woman had committed suicide and realized the high suicide rate for people with MS.

With family support and high quality care, Olson has been able to maintain a Nike Air More Uptempo Qs Chi milder case of MS. She had always been healthy growing up and her first encounter with MS was a more intense case.

"I really learned how broad it is," Olson said. "There are new treatments now, but it is still very unpredictable."

team continues to grow each year.

A new perspective on life with Multiple Sclerosis

While her case is milder than many cases of MS, it is not without its struggles. Throughout the years Olson has had several bouts of optic neuritis, in which she has completely lost vision in her right eye for up to six weeks. She also deals with occasional periods of numbness. Even when the episodes of pain go away, the damage to the nerves is permanent. The symptoms and underlaying affects tend to worsen over time.

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