By Libby Smith
CENTENNIAL, Colo (CBS4) – Multiple sclerosis effects every patient differently. Symptoms manifest themselves in different way on different days. Nearly 80 percent of people living with this auto-immune disease affecting the nervous system have heat sensitivity, and rely on cooling products to keep on going.
“This is the cooling vest that I use when I go on long bike rides,” said Scott Kaplan, as he holds up a blue, nylon vest.
Kaplan soaks the vest in ice water, then wears it under his bike jersey.
“It absorbs the water and holds onto it, and stays cold for about an hour-and-a-half to two hours,” he explained.
After 15 years of living with multiple sclerosis, Kaplan’s learned a thing or two. He also uses cooling towels. The chamois-like material stays cool and helps him regulate his body temperature.
“It’s given me total freedom to do what I want to do instead of being limited by MS,”Kaplan told CBS4.
He got the towels and the cooling vest from the Colorado-Wyoming chapter of the National MS Society. It’s one of the many reasons he supports the organization.
“Walk is my thing. All my fundraising goes to Walk.”
Over the years, Kaplan’s Walk team has grown to include friends, family, and co-workers, up to 50 people.
“Over the last 7 or 8 years, we’ve raised about a quarter of a million dollars. We raise about $20,000 to $25,000 a year, doing a big silent auction,” Kaplan said.
For Kaplan, Walk MS is special because he’s surrounded by family, and he keeps his cooling towels on hand, so he can keep on going.
“I count myself lucky being able to get around the way I do, and being able to do more or less what I want to do.”
Libby Smith is a Special Projects Producer at CBS4. If you have a story you’d like to tell CBS4 about, call 303-863-TIPS (8477) or visit the News Tips section.