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AHS Class of 07 grad with MS walks for a cure
ARLINGTON Michael Lobaito believes in meeting the challenges that life has to offer him, and when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis the day after graduating from Arlington High School last year, it was no exception.
The doctor told me Id be living with it the rest of my life, Lobaito said. So I said that I wanted it, and he looked at me like I was crazy. If I have to have it, though, I might as well embrace it.
Lobaito is equally enthusiastic about embracing a cure for MS, which is why he and his team of 15 will be taking part in the MS Walk for a Cure, starting at the Tulalip Amphitheater, April 12, at 8 a.m.
The 19-year-old Skagit Valley College student can point to both the rarity and frequency of his own condition in others.
A lot of people get MS at this age, but they dont find it until 20-30 years later, Lobaito said. Most of those who are diagnosed at my age are female. At the same time, the Pacific Northwest has one of the highest densities of MS, maybe as high as one in four people, for unknown reasons.
As a sophomore in high school, Lobaito suffered from encephalitis, a brain infection that doctors at the time believed to be isolated, but which they now see as one of the first symptoms of his MS.
I have to inject myself every day with protein now since MS destroys the protein insulating my nerve cells, Lobaito said. I havent really had many symptoms yet, but its only just started. Its pretty manageable in the beginning stages, but wherever it goes, it goes.
Lobaito has recruited friends and coworkers into joining and supporting Team Go Mike for the walk, receiving a $125 donation from his general manager at Best Buy and free team T-shirts from H and L Sports. He encouraged others either to register on the day of the event or to log onto the National MS Societys Web site, at www.nationalmssociety.org, to learn more about both the event and the disease itself.
Before I had it, I never knew what it was, Lobaito said. Now that I know, Im trying to get the community involved, and rolling with the punches. You never know whats going to happen next, so you have to keep a positive mindset.