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HAMILTON, N.J. – Three months after her wedding in June 2001, Mary A. Moulds, vice president of education and training services for the New Jersey Credit Union League, became ill with symptoms of numbness and tingling in her left arm. A month later, after many tests, she was diagnosed conclusively with multiple sclerosis. While the disease has made Moulds adjust her life, it is her spirit, energy and hope for a cure that keep her going. On Sunday, April 18, Moulds cut the ribbon to start the 16th Annual National Multiple Sclerosis Walk sponsored by the Mid-Jersey Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and held in Hamilton, N.J. Her walkathon team – called “Friends of Mary” and comprised of co-workers, credit union staff, family and friends – raised more than $9,000 to support research for a cure, ranking the team among the top 10 in the state based on donations. Hamilton Horizons FCU donated T-shirts with the “Friends of Mary” logo to each of the 85 walkers who participated with Moulds, the largest team at the event. The credit union also helped Moulds collect door prizes, including gift certificates from local and national restaurants and stores, which were given out at a luncheon sponsored by Empire Corporate FCU for the “Friends of Mary” team after the 6.5-mile walk. The NJCUL also donated $500 to the cause. And, in an effort to thank Moulds and her supporters, NMSS Mid-Jersey Chapter President Michael Elkow made a guest appearance at the luncheon. “What started as a little flicker in my mind last year has grown so much,” Moulds said. “I thought if I could get 10 people to walk, that would be great – and I ended up with 35. This year, we have twice as many walkers. It’s a really exciting time for me. It gives me a little bit of hope that the cure is closer for me and everyone else out there.” “Mary is an amazing friend and co-worker,” said Yvette Segarra, special events/meeting planner at NJCUL and a “Friends of Mary” team member. “Her drive and spirit should serve as an inspiration to us all to never give up. I walked because I lover her and I really believe in all her hard work.” Being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis was quite a surprise for Moulds and her husband, Jack. “The disease does not run in my family, and I didn’t even really know what it was,” she said. From the start Moulds dedicated herself to learning as much as possible. Aside from information obtained through her doctor, Moulds did a lot of research online. However, she urges others to be wary of some information that is posted on the Internet and to make use of reliable sources, such as the National MS Society and some medical sites such as WebMD. The disease has forced Moulds to make some lifestyle adjustments, both large and small. “I love to travel, but I have to know my limits,” she said. “I also have to be careful in hot weather.” The latter affects one passion in particular she and Jack share: attending baseball games. “We used to go to 60 or 70 games during a season,” she said. “Now we go to night games instead.” In February 2003, Moulds began organizing her first walkathon team, which raised $4,000 to support the research cause. Later that year Moulds was one of three people chosen from throughout New Jersey to attend the prestigious National Team Captain’s Rally and MS Convention in Miami Beach, Fla., where she learned about ways to promote her cause. In addition to building up her second walkathon team and obtaining sponsors, Moulds also organized a smaller-scale event to raise money. In December 2003 Moulds recruited volunteers to wrap gifts at a Borders in nearby Princeton, N.J., for donations from customers. “Not only did the customers give us money, but so did the employees,” Moulds said. “These were high school seniors and college freshmen, home on break, who took money out of their own pockets and put it into the box.” Earlier this year Moulds was contacted by representatives of the NMSS Mid-Jersey Chapter to see if she could use her professional training skills to conduct a four-hour session on time management and team building for the organization’s staff. She did so with the approval of NJCUL President and CEO Tom Shaughnessy. “We had an excellent day together,” Moulds said. “Afterwards, they sent me flowers and e-mailed me and my boss, who has been so supportive of everything I’ve done. “This disease may disable me, but it will never kill me. It may infringe upon the quality of my life. But, I continue to look at the good side of things. I have to.” -

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