Posted by: jinniver | February 2, 2009

Walking for those who can’t

The walk has ended; thank you to everyone who donated and supported me!  I was able to raise $2256, thanks in part to all of you.  And congratulations to all the raffle winners, who can be found here!

One morning in August 2001, I woke up to discover I couldn’t see properly.  I’d developed double vision overnight.  I ended up seeing an ophthalmologist, who offered 4 possible causes:

  1. High blood pressure
  2. Thyroid problems
  3. The genetic defect in my optic nerve (which I have, but had never caused problems)
  4. A brain tumor

In a twist that’s funny now, right after they mentioned “brain tumor,” they took my blood pressure and were amazed to see how high it was.  Gee, you think?

After months of testing, several visits to a neurologist, the inexplicable clearing up of the double vision (or diplopia, as it’s known in the medical community) after 6 weeks, and some other strange symptoms–short-term memory loss, word-finding problems, numbness and tingling in my face and hands, and finally weakness in my left leg–the answer turned out to be:  none of the above.

I was diagnosed with relasping-remitting multiple sclerosis in April 2002.

The best source of information about multiple sclerosis can be found on the website of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, but basically multiple sclerosis (MS) is an auto-immune disease where the immune system starts attacking the central nervous system.  Rather than fighting off infection, the immune system attacks the protective coating (myelin) of the nerves in the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerve.  Myelin that is damaged or destroyed (sclerosis) will cause interference in the messages passed back and forth from the brain, leading to a variety of disabilities (hence the multiple).  What’s affected depends upon where the scarring occurs.  The disabilities can be permanent or temporary.

I’m lucky.  Relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis means that the symptoms come and go, although the recovery is not always total.  And my case is relatively mild.  So while I’ve had weakness in my limbs, extreme fatigue, cognitive disabilities, numbness and tingling, and diplopia, almost all of it has cleared completely.  Well, except for my most recent exacerbation–as I mentioned recently I still have reduced sensation in both hands, mostly in my fingers, and worse in the left hand than the right.


Ready to walk!

Jeffrey and I at our first walk in 2006–Steve was deployed.

This year will be my 4th year participating in the Lone Star MS Walk to raise money for MS education, research and support.  I’m very proud of the fact that in each of the previous 3 years, I was one of the top 100 fundraisers in the Lone Star chapter (which includes both Corpus Christi and San Antonio, TX).  It’s not the easiest thing for me to do–I’m not a good fundraiser and I’m shy of asking people for donations.

But I’m not doing it for me.

MS tends to first affect people in their 20s and 30s…which is about the same age that people tend to have young children.  I have a son who turns 4 soon, and a daughter who turned 1 a few months ago.

Fellow parents–how many times did you have to run after a child when they were young?  How many times did you play ball with them at the park?  How many times did you pick them up and cuddle them when they cried?

I do each of these things at least once a day.  And every time I do, I remember that there are parents out there with MS like me who can’t.  There’s a mom in a wheelchair who can’t run.  There’s a dad too fatigued to play outside.  There’s a parent whose arms are too weak to pick up and hug. They desperately want to…but their body won’t cooperate.

3 Mar 07 024_edited
Jeffrey walks across the finish line for the first time with me as Steve takes our picture; we found out we were expecting Lexie a week later.

So for the ones who can’t walk for themselves, I walk for them.  Of course, there are those who don’t let a little thing like being wheelchair-bound stop them; they raise money too and roll along right next to the rest of us.  With those examples, I’ve been doing my best to raise money, and stay in the Top 100 Club.  However, despite increasing the amount I’ve raised every year, I’ve ranked lower and lower, and last year I was 100th.  Everyone else is stepping up their game–so I have to do the same!

Jeffrey, Steve, Jen, and Lexie (in stroller) after the 2008 Walk – yes #848 was Lexie’s number; everyone in the Walk had to wear one, even her!

…Which is why I writing about it here.  I’m asking for help from my readers–and I’m going to make it worth your while!

Announcing the Raid Jen’s Stash Raffle!

I’ve got a lot of yarn.  A lot of it is pretty beautiful…and it’s hard to let any of it go.  But this is more than a worthy cause–so for every $5 you donate, you’ll get one entry into the raffle for this beautiful selection of yarn!  Each yarn (or yarn lot, in the case of multiple skeins/colors listed) is one prize, for a total of 17 prizes:

Yarn 072508 (23)
Yarn: ArtYarns Kid Mohair
Colorway: 105 Rosebush
Yardage: 1380 yds
Fibers: 70% Mohair and 30% Silk
Weight: Lace

Aslan Trends Del Sur white (2)
Yarn: Aslan Trends Del Sur
Colorway: 01 White
Yardage: 87 yds
Fibers: 100% Merino
Weight: Super Bulky

Castle Fibers Royal Luxury Peach (2)
Yarn: Castle Fibers Royal Luxury
Colorway: Peach (hand-dyed)
Yardage: 100 yds
Fibers: 100% Silk (handspun)
Weight: Lace

CountryTime Alpaca Huacaya purple
Yarn: CountryTime Alpaca Huacaya
Colorway: Purple (hand-dyed)
Yardage: 126 yds
Fibers: 100% Alpaca (handspun)
Weight: Lace
(This is a tough one to let go. It was a gift from my mother-in-law for Christmas, and I love it…but I wanted to offer a great variety, and this is the only handspun/hand-dyed alpaca I have that’s not earmarked for a project.)

Crystal Palace Cream light apple
Yarn: Crystal Palace Yarns Creme (discontinued, so get it while it lasts!)
Colorway: 2022 Lightest Apple Green
Yardage: 1240 yds total (in 10 balls)
Fibers: 60% Wool, 40% Silk
Weight: Worsted

Yarn 072508 (20)
Yarn: Handmaiden Fine Yarn Lady Godiva
Colorway: Rosebush
Yardage: 273 yds
Fibers: 50% Wool, 50% Silk
Weight: Worsted

vanCalcar Acres FlockSock Sock copper pennies
Yarn: Holiday Yarns (previously vanCalcar Acres) Jennifer’s FlockSock Sock Yarn
Colorway: Copper Pennies
Yardage: 400 yds
Fibers: 75% Superwash Merino, 25% Nylon
Weight: Fingering

KnitPicks Gloss burgundy
Yarn: KnitPicks Gloss
Colorway: Burgundy
Yardage: 2220 yds total (in 10 skeins, some balled)
Fibers: 70% Merino, 30% Silk
Weight: Fingering

KnitPicks Gloss Lace chipotle
Yarn: KnitPicks Gloss Lace
Colorway: Chipotle
Yardage: 440 yds
Fibers: 70% Merino, 30% Silk
Weight: Lace

Laines du Nord Kordall Vancy camoflage
Yarn: Laines du Nord Korall Fancy
Colorway: 882 Camoflage
Yardage: 630 yds (in 10 balls)
Fibers: 100% Merino
Weight: Bulky

Malabrigo Chunky Jacinto (1)
Yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Chunky
Colorway: Jacinto
Yardage: 104 yds
Fibers: 100% Merino
Weight: Bulky

Malabrigo Merino turquoise
Yarn: Malabrigo Merino Worsted
Colorway: 98 Tuareg
Yardage: 216 yds
Fibers: 100% Merino
Weight: Aran

Plymouth Yarn Baby Alpaca DK black
Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Baby Alpaca DK
Colorway: 500 Black
Yardage: 250 yds total (in 2 balls)
Fibers: 100% Alpaca
Weight: DK

Plymouth Yarn Galway bluePlymouth Yarn Galway redPlymouth Yarn Galway yellow
Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Galway
Colorways:  56 Navy Blue, 148 Deep Red, 88 Light Yellow
Yardage:  1890 yds of 3 colors combined (1260 yds total Navy Blue (in 6 skeins), 420 yds total Deep Red (in 2 skeins), 210 yds Light Yellow)
Fibers:  100% Wool
Weight: Worsted
(A great set for a felted item!)

SWTC TOFUtsies bright rainbow
Yarn: South West Trading Company TOFUtsies
Colorway: 799 Brights Rainbow
Yardage: 464.8 yds
Fibers: 50% Superwash Wool, 25% Soy Silk, 22.5% Cotton, 2.5% Chitin (made from shrimp and crab shells)
Weight: Light Fingering

Tilli Tomas Silk n Shimmer parchment
Yarn: Tilli Tomas Silk ‘n Shimmer
Colorway: Parchment
Yardage: 625 yds total (in 5 skeins)
Fibers: Silk, Metallic Thread
Weight: Bulky

Yarn Chef Creme Brulee Angel (2)
Yarn: Yarn Chef Creme Brulee
Colorway: Angel
Yardage: 620 yds
Fibers: 50% Merino, 50% Silk
Weight: Lace

Hopefully there’s something here that caught your eye! If so, please take a few moments to visit my 2009 MS Walk page and donate if you can–or at least drop a note of encouragement here! Every little bit helps!  This year the walk in Corpus Christi will be on March 14, 2009, so donations made until midnight US Central Standard Time on March 13 will qualify for the raffle.  Thank you so much for your support!


  1. You can leave a personal note when you donate on my donation page; please note there if you’re entering the raffle so I make sure you get counted!  And please leave a means for me to contact you if you win!
  2. Fellow bloggers, please feel free to link back here–the more knitters and crocheters who hear about the raffle, the better!
  3. I am certainly willing to ship worldwide.  If someone from outside the US is willing to donate, I’m willing to ship!
  4. I received a comment recently for someone who would like to donate, but who does not have a credit card.  Unfortunately, the site is not set up to take PayPal.  There is another way to donate–via check.  Fortunately, a system is in place for these donations, so you can be assured that your money will get to where it’s supposed to go!Make the check payable to the NATIONAL MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS SOCIETY and mail it to:Walk MS: Corpus Christi 2009
    National MS Society
    P.O. Box 4125
    Houston, TX 77210

    Please make sure to put my name, Jennifer Johnson, in the memo field of the check so I receive credit.  Then leave a comment on any of my blog posts or email me at jinniver AT gmail DOT com to tell me the amount of your donation so I can enter it on my donation page and in the raffle!  Thanks again!

Edit:  Since this post was originally written, there have been several donations of yarn or roving to add to the prize list.

Rita, the talent behind Castle Fibers is offering a very special limited-edition yarn. There have been a couple cases recently of indie dyers and designers allegedly faking their deaths when things got tough, so when the most recent story broke, Rita decided to poke a little fun and started a new yarn line: RIP (Undead Yarns). The first colorway in the series, Scab, has already sold out–except for the one Rita set aside as a prize for the raffle!

Castle Fibers RIP Yarns Scab (1)

Another friend, Shady Fibers, offered up the roving of my choice from her etsy store. She’s got some beautiful rovings to choose from, so I enjoyed my “shopping” quite a bit. I’m not a spinner (yet) myself, but hopefully I picked a good one–it’s a very colorful roving with lots to offer anyone:

Shady Fibers roving

She also sent along a couple of extra surprises for the winner:

Shady Fibers yarn (2)Shady Fibers extras

My friend DharmaRN is offering any item, either yarn or roving, from her etsy shop, Frog Hair Fibers, or something custom dyed in the winner’s color choice!

For a supplemental raffle, my friend Tia is offering is up to 15 skeins of sock yarn (some indie dyed, some commercially produced) from her stash for knitters who are able to donate $100 or more. Each donation in that range will be worth one entry into the raffle; the number of skeins available will depend on the number of qualifying donations (in other words, if less than 15 knitters donate more than $100, the number of sock yarn skeins will equal the number of donations; if more than 15 donations qualify, there will be 15 skeins available and winners will be chosen in a raffle).



  1. I get paid on Friday. Had a couple unexpected things pop up with Angie ( she broke the blades on 3 sabers Saturday, had to get them fixed) So I can’t donate until then. But I will put a post/link on my blog for you today.

  2. Already made my donation; I wish you all the best. I have another DF who also has MS and has been having some problems lately… I so want them to find a cure!

  3. Wow, Jen, that’s amazing. I’ll have to make sure to let my knitting friends know about your raffle. Nothing shows love from a knitter like giving away stash 🙂

  4. I posted about your raffle on WiKnit (, my knitting contest blog. Best of luck with your walk and contest!

  5. I wrote about your post on my blog. I hope this gets more people to come and visit here. Good Luck on your walk!

  6. Is it possible to donate by paypal? I don’t have a credit card…

  7. […] cause. Jen is walking to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis education, research, and support. This post at her blog has the details.  So click on over there and lets show Jen some […]

  8. I should have read this page before getting in the raffle at Knotty Girls! May I up my donation to get in the supplemental raffle next time I see you?

  9. Gute Arbeit hier! Gute Inhalte.


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