Rachel Freeman takes a ‘stand’ against MS

Published 10:53 pm Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Rachel Freeman saw a need and found a way to fill it. With lemonade – the sweet nectar of summer.

Rachel knows about the debilitating effects of multiple sclerosis. A family member has the disease that affects the central nervous system. Rachel also knows that MS affects children, too. So she wanted to join the Alabama Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in “taking a stand against MS.”

On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, June, 18-20, Rachel will operate a lemonade stand inside Radio Shack at 604 George Wallace Drive in Troy. All proceeds will benefit the MS Society.

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“Because it’s so hot, I decided to set up the stand inside Radio Shack,” Rachel said. “We’ll have ice cold cans of Tropicana lemonade and Bud’s Best cookies for a donation that will go to support the battle against MS. Nobody has been able to find what causes MS, and much of the research is aimed at finding the cause.”

Although more than 4,000 Alabamians and 400,000 people in the United States have MS, not many people seem to know about the devastating disease and fundraising events don’t often get the publicity and support that other health-driven campaigns receive, Rachel said.

“Not a lot of people know about MS, and I want them to know about it and, hopefully, help do something about it,” the 13-year-old fundraiser said.

MS is often referred to as a “prime of life” disease because it most often strikes people between the ages of 20 and 50. MS is unpredictable. Symptoms can be mild, such as numbness, or severe, such as loss of vision or even paralysis. Symptoms of MS can come and go without warning.

The National MS Society has spent more than $550 million on research-related programs since its founding. But there is much more to be done before the disease can be prevented and conquered.

The dollars donated through children who run lemonade stands on hot summer days could be the ones that deliver the knockout blows to the disease.

“So I invite everybody to visit ‘The Stand Against MS’ and help in the fight against this awful disease,” Rachel said.

The lemonade stand will be open June 18-20 during Radio Shack’s regular hours, from 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday and from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturday.