Kayak for the Kure

Kathie Linvingston, owner of nature Adventures Kayak and Canoe Outfitters, with tour participants before Kayak for the Kure. (Provided)

After completing her fifth charity walk to raise money for multiple sclerosis, Martha Rogers was tired. Not just physically because she is living with the disease herself, but mentally because she yearned for something new.

So when Rogers moved to Mount Pleasant a year ago, she found what she calls her new “MS family,” who introduced her to Kayak for the Kure, a fundraiser where all of the proceeds go to the National MS Society of the Greater Carolinas and the Tisch MS Research Center.

The fifth annual benefit was sponsored by Nature Adventures Kayak, Canoe and Paddleboard Outfitters and was held last weekend. The two-hour guided trips went around Shem Creek and Crab Bank Island. Rogers, who had never kayaked before, went in a tandem kayak with a guide.

“It was beautiful. I was able to explore new parts of the world and meet new friends,” Rogers said.

Rogers found out she had MS in 2004 after optic neuritis left her temporarily blind in her left eye. She said this is a common symptom of the incurable disease that attacks the central nervous system. She became fatigued, lost her sense of balance and started dragging one of her feet. She was diagnosed with MS after having an MRI.

“I was a very active person. I always have been. I was shocked when I got sick. I thought immediately that I’m going to fight this,” she said.

Rogers said MS often hits people in the prime of their lives. When she was diagnosed, the mother of two was working as a substitute teacher and public relations specialist for a school and working on her master’s in education.

Rogers said people often think that those with the disease will end up in a wheelchair but that is not always the case because of medications and therapy.

Rogers isn’t new to fundraising for MS. When she was diagnosed and lived in Virginia, she raised $10,000 one year. After moving to Mount Pleasant, finding a new MS circle was something she searched out immediately.

“It’s very important to have people who understand what I’m dealing with, how it affects my life and want to raise money to go to the cure,” she said.

She said finding a support group is integral for people with the disease because, “It can be very depressing if you’re not connected.”

“This is a progressive disease there is no cure for. But if you get on the right medications, you can slow it down and you can live with it with a quality of life,” Rogers said.

Rogers won a bid for another kayak tour at the auction during Kayak for the Kure. She said she plans on taking her husband, Hank, with her next time to share her new love of kayaking.

Reach Jade McDuffie at 937-5560 or jmcduffie@postandcourier.com.