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Byline: Eric Leach Staff Writer

SIMI VALLEY - Since he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis four years ago, Chris Tieman has joined hundreds each year in the annual MS Walk in Simi Valley - starting in a wheelchair in 2003, then using leg braces, and now planning to walk Saturday as far as he can go using just a cane.

``It's a lot of fun, a real family type event'' involving people with and without multiple sclerosis, he said. ``It touches me because all these people are taking their Saturday off to do something because they want to see a cure. It touches me to know that there are all these people who care. It's a little emotional, but it's for a good cause.''

Marni Deckter, director of communications for the Southern California Chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society, estimated there will be more than 200,000 walkers at more than 600 sites where MS walks are held across the country this spring.

``This is one of our largest and most visible fundraising events,'' she said.

Through pledges to each participant, the walks are expected to raise more than $50 million for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

In Southern California, there are 14 walk sites where 15,000 people are expected to raise more than $2 million to fund research into a cure and programs to help people with multiple sclerosis. Walks are scheduled in Santa Barbara and Lancaster on April 8, and Los Angeles on April 9.

The Simi Valley 5-km and 10-km event has been one of the most successful for the Channel Islands Chapter of the MS Society, which merged in January with the Southern California chapter.

Last year, Tieman did the course with a group of 65 people from Homestore Inc. in Westlake Village who raised $10,000 for the cause.

Sam Spampinato said he pushed Tieman most of the way three years ago, but Tieman rolled the wheelchair the last 100 yards, and then got out and walked over the finish line.

``I was honored that he would let me,'' Spampinato said. ``I told him you deal with MS every day. I can push the wheelchair.''

``Chris inspires me daily. I can't believe he does so much. He's in pain every day, but he goes to work, and everyday he makes people smile.''

Tieman, 39, said he gets inspiration from other.

``I try to make the most out of every day and try to get the most out of life that I can,'' he said.

The Simi Valley walk begins at Rancho Tapo Community Park at 9 a.m. and ends when walkers return to the park and join together in a festive lunch with entertainment.

John Dautremont said there were about 100 walkers when he started working on the Simi Valley MS walk seven years ago. Last year there were around 300, and officials hope there will be about 500 this year.

Dautremont has 500 goody bags ready to hand out to participants at the finish line.

``It's inspirational to see how the community cares,'' he said of watching support grow for the the Simi Valley event. ``I think it's because of the people in Simi Valley. It's a caring community.

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease of the central nervous system, but the symptoms and progression are difficult to predict. Mild symptoms of MS might involve numbness in the limbs, and severe symptoms could include paralysis or loss of vision.

``It's unpredictable, kind of different for each patient,'' Tieman said. ``There is not a magic pill to make it go away. I would hope in my lifetime someone comes up with a cure.''

Eric Leach, (805) 583-7602



The Southern California Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society will hold a fundraising walk starting with registration at 9 a.m. Saturday at Rancho Tapo Community Park, 3700 Avenida Simi. For more information, call (800) 344-4867 or (805) 682-8783 or go to


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(color) Chris Tieman has participated in the MS Walk in Simi Valley by way of wheelchair and braces. Now he is planning to walk as far as he can using a cane in Saturday's event.

Tina Burch/Staff Photographer


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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Mar 26, 2006

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