With a little help from her Zumba friends, Jennifer Carr hosted a lively Wednesday night block party at a cul-de-sac in North Delta — all in her efforts to find a cure for multiple sclerosis (MS).
Carr was diagnosed with MS 19 years ago, when she was a 22-year-old living in the Yukon.
Since moving back to the Lower Mainland in 2000, she has been dedicated to raising money to find a cure, and helping others living with the disease, through MS Bike Tours, MS Walks, and Muck MS Mud runs.
Through the years Carr has helped to raise $225,000 for the cause.
This year, Carr plans to take part in three MS rides.
“The Carr Crew has been incredible with their support,” she said.
Which brings us to July 5 Zumba fundraiser. For an hour-and-a-half, the cul-de-sac at Turner Place was closed to traffic as more than 70 participants ranging from six-year-olds to seniors moved their bodies to reggaeton, soca, samba, and hip hop music played over a loudspeaker.
Led by Nadi Al-Janaby of Zumba Vancouver, the event, which also included door prizes and raffles, raised $755.40 for the MS Society of Canada – BC and Yukon Division.
The funds will be used in two ways: to support the people and families living with MS, and to fund research for treatments and a cure.
“It’s important to me to be part of finding the cure,” Carr said.
Carr said she’s been fortunate to have access to several treatments including steroids, chemotherapy, and ‘injectable’ medications, and while they helped, they didn’t work as well as she and her family had hoped.
Roughly five years ago, Carr began taking a medication in pill form (“daily injections before, that totally sucked!” she noted) and she says that has changed her life.
“I have energy again and I don’t have side effects,” Carr said. “Before, all I was able to manage was working, and barely that. Now, I’m participating in my life again. Having the support of my friends and family is so overwhelming and makes me so grateful. And I’m able to give back.”
Carr is gearing up for her fourth year doing the Ride to Conquer Cancer and this time, she’s tackling the challenge route.
“I’ll probably be the slowest rider on the route, but as long as I finish, I’ll be happy,” Carr said.
As for her upcoming Fraser Valley Bike tour, Carr’s fundraising page can be found by clicking at tinyurl.com/msbikejennifer.
Also at the Zumba fundraiser, Claudia Gomes of SweetLegs (sold leggings) with 20 per cent of each pair she sold funding her humanitarian trip to Kenya.