Fighting MS With Empty Bottles

Kristy Walker with her three children, Emma Walker, Nathan Walker, and Kierra Ryan. Photo courtesy of Kristy Walker.

A local Windsorite is asking the Windsor-Essex community to bring in their empty bottles for their third annual MS Bottle Drive.

Ten of The Beer Stores around Windsor will be collecting empty bottles today from 10am to 5pm.

Tables will be set up in front of the stores with volunteers collecting bottles and/or cash donations. Any participating stores that do not have a table out front will be processing donations through the till inside.

Most of the locations will have baked goods for sale. Both the Tecumseh Road and Goyeau Street locations will also have BBQ fundraisers. The money from empty bottle returns and donations will help people with multiple sclerosis here in Windsor and Essex County. Last year they raised $4,400.

The first bottle drive was held two years ago at two locations in Windsor and one in Chatham. Last year they expanded to four locations. This year they have ten stores participating.

Kristy Walker with her family and best friend in front of The Beer Store. Photo courtesy of Kristy Walker.

Kristy Walker with her family and best friend in front of The Beer Store. Photo courtesy of Kristy Walker.

Kristy Walker, an employee with The Beer Store of 10 years, first got the idea for the drive from an article in a 2016 “Kegs and Cases” magazine about a couple partnering up with stores in northern Ontario to have MS drives. She thought to herself, “why aren’t we doing this in our area?”

Walker was diagnosed with MS three-and-a-half years ago.

“I was terrified, and my family was terrified. What did this mean for my three children?” said Walker in a post in the 2016 Bottle Drive Facebook event page. “All I knew was that I will not let MS ruin my life.”

Walker had previous experience with the effects of MS because of her cousin. She says he struggled with the disease for many years before an attack that led to his diagnosis at 41. He lost his battle with MS, among other medical conditions, in 2008.

She says her whole family participates in the drive, as well as many of her friends. Walker says she feels truly blessed to have their support, as well as the support of The Beer Store managers.

“There is no cure for MS, but there is always hope,” says Walker. “My hope is for myself is that my kids will keep seeing me, their mom, just as I am, and that I can keep taking care of them.”

“I know what MS can do to some people, and I pray for a cure. I want to help find a cure.”