Fundraiser scheduled for couple battling multiple sclerosis

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The fight against multiple sclerosis might be is as easy as sitting down at Fat Sat's Bar & Grill in Belen and enjoying a hot meal.

A fundraiser, scheduled from 6 to 10 p.m., Saturday, July 28, at the restaurant on 51 Interstate 25 Bypass in Belen, is in honor of Leslie Pino-Durant, a Belen native, and her husband, Rick Durant, who battle multiple sclerosis daily.

But one would never know that from observing the Colorado couple, said Linda C. MacEachen, Leslie's sister.

"This disease hasn't stopped them and kept them from doing what they've always done," MacEachen said. "They just have to slow down at times, because they get so tired, but boy do they keep on going."

The couple is actively involved in fundraising for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society's Colorado chapter year round. The society focuses on helping those affected by funding research, promoting advocacy, facilitating education about the disease and providing programs and services for those affected by the disease, according to its website.

To help her sister, MacEachen, along with other family members, hold at least one fundraiser a year.

"The money will go towards stopping MS, restoring function to those with MS and ending MS all together — forever," she said.

The Colorado couple, married for five years, suffer from the same subtype of multiple sclerosis — relapsing-remitting. Individuals with this type have unpredictable relapses, which are followed by a period of remission when the disease isn't active.

"What that means is that they can go on without many symptoms and can relapse at any time," MacEachen said.

Pino-Durant was diagnosed with the disease in 2001, and Durant was diagnosed in 2009. The disease affects the 1984 Belen High School graduate on her right side, but Durant is affected by the disease on his left side.

"A lot of times, its difficult for her to do things with her right hand or leg. Sometimes they'll completely give out," MacEachen said.

The couple has four children from previous marriages spanning from ages 15 to 23. Both are teachers work at Arvada High School in West Minster, Colo., and Durant participates in a men's hockey league.

To participate in the fundraiser, notify the waiter or waitress that you want to support the MS fundraiser for Leslie and Rick Durant. The restaurant will then donate 50 percent of the customer's total bill toward the society.


-- Email the author at aortiz@news-bulletin.com.