CORUNNA— Area residents Donna and Curtis Doneth plan to raise money and awareness to fight multiple sclerosis Saturday by leading a “wagon train for MS” from the Shiawassee County Fairgrounds to downtown Corunna.
The convoy of draft horses and wagons will leave from the fairgrounds and head to the Stu Coutts Pavilion next to Mitchell Park for lunch. After a hotdog and chili lunch at noon, there will be an auction to raise money for MS research before the wagon train heads back to the fairgrounds.
The event starts at 10 a.m. It’s open to the public.
“Part of our thought was that people will come and want to ride the wagons and donate toward the cause. It will be a nice family outing on a Saturday,” Curtis Doneth said.
The Doneths had hoped to do the event in March, which is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, but couldn’t count on nice weather. The forecast for Saturday is partly cloudy with temperatures in the mid 60s.
The wagons can accommodate large families and the Doneths say it would be perfect for small children and horse enthusiasts. Riders can choose the amount they would like to donate to MS research.
The route heads east on Hibbard Road to State Road, then north into Corunna. They plan to ride north on Shiawassee Street through town turning west onto Ferry Street and heading to the park on the north side of the Shiawassee River.
The Doneths are encouraging people to attend the lunch and donate items to the silent auction if they are not able to participate in the wagon ride.
“Anything you want to give, we’ll auction off and all the proceeds will go to supporting MS research,” Donna Doneth said.
All the money raised from wagon rides and the silent auction will go directly to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to conduct research on the what causes MS and how to cure it.
Raising awareness about MS is important to the Doneths because their youngest daughter was diagnosed with MS two years ago at age 26.
“She had a 6-week-old baby and woke up one morning with blurry vision and by noon couldn’t see out of her eyes,” Donna Doneth said.
“We’ve been surprised at how many people that you talk to that have family members who have it. It’s much more common than we ever thought about,” Curtis Doneth said.
They both praised the work of Dr. Aburashed at the Memorial Healthcare’s Neurological Institute & Center for Multiple Sclerosis. Aburashed specializes in treating MS and travels across the country to speak on the topic. Members of his staff are planning on attending Saturday’s event.
The Doneths are hoping people will line up to see the passing horses like a parade. They hope seeing a big group of draft horses will get people talking and help raise awareness about MS.
“People like to see (the horses) and be around them,” Curtis Doneth said.
“The other thing that’s nice with them is that people who have MS who are severely affected, they can’t walk in a walkathon or a bikeathon,” Donna Doneth said.
This is the first year the wagon train for MS will take place and the Doneths hope to do it again if the event is a success. They expect to have at least eight teams of draft horses and a few people riding horses.
Multiple sclerosis is a disease that damages the cells in a person’s brain and spinal cord. Symptoms can vary from double vision to paralysis. There currently is no cure and the causes are unknown.
For more information about participating in the event or to make a donation, call Donna Doneth at (989) 413-4351.