Weekly Feature



2017-08-09 / Lifestyles

Daughters of mothers with MS to hold fundraiser

by HOLLY N. LIPKA Reporter


Melissa Fargino, left, and Shannon Polvino both have mothers living with multiple sclerosis. To honor their moms, Fargino and Polvino will be hosting a fundraiser on Aug. 19 to benefit Change MS. Melissa Fargino, left, and Shannon Polvino both have mothers living with multiple sclerosis. To honor their moms, Fargino and Polvino will be hosting a fundraiser on Aug. 19 to benefit Change MS. Shannon Polvino of Amherst and Melissa Fargino of Grand Island are best friends who both have mothers living with multiple sclerosis.

To honor their moms, Fargino and Polvino will be hosting a fundraiser to benefit the nonprofit organization Change MS, which provides resources and support to those with MS.

“Melissa and I are passionate about this cause, as our lives have been affected by MS, seeing our mothers deal with the often-debilitating symptoms,” Polvino said in a press release.

Polvino was in second grade when her mom was diagnosed in 2000.

“It had its ups and downs,” she said. “Before she was diagnosed, she was working 60 hours a week in a corporate job, and then she had to go on disability.”

Fargino’s mom was diagnosed in 2014, but her family believes she had the disease years before her diagnosis.

“She always thought she had something wrong with the discs in her back, and I remember we were in Target one day and she just face-planted on the ground. We knew something was wrong,” said Fargino.

Those with MS may experience vision problems, walking difficulties, muscle stiffness, dizziness, numbness, fatigue and pain, but symptoms often vary from person to person.

Polvino’s mom suffers greatly from fatigue. Fargino’s mom has a dropped foot, an MS symptom that interferes with the ability to lift up the front of the foot and makes walking difficult.

“My mom’s right leg doesn’t want to move, but she wears a brace around her ankle that attaches to her sneakers and helps her walk,” said Fargino.

MS affects Western New Yorkers at a rate that is double the national average, with more than 3,700 people in the Greater Buffalo area.

“While much research is being done to discover why, we do not know at this time,” said Dee Mascari, manager of program implementation and engagement for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Even though a large number of people in WNY live with MS, there was no local organization to offer knowledge and support before Change MS started three years ago.

Tony Ferro founded the organization in August 2014. He was diagnosed with MS in 2012.

“He just really wants people to become comfortable with their MS, and with Change MS he focuses on changing diets, finding physical therapy and finding various functional doctors,” said Fargino.

The nonprofit also hosts workshops and programs that offer people with MS the knowledge needed to help them live healthier and happier.

“Change MS was created to help people feel better physically, mentally and emotionally,” Ferro said in a press release. “We stress the benefits of being proactive through diet and lifestyle for optimal health.”

The 21-and-up fundraiser will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19, at D’Arcy McGee’s Irish Pub, 257 Franklin St., Buffalo. There will be a band, DJ, open bar, buffet and a basket raffle.

Tickets are $25 presale and $30 at the door. For more information or to donate to Change MS, visit www.changems.org.

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