Clay Walker is a bundle of positive energy exploding in a multitude of directions – he is in Houston training for a cutting horse competition, on his ranch reading bedtime stories to his daughters, and in a concert hall performing for his fans. The last thing Clay has time to do is get depressed about having multiple sclerosis (MS). Since 1996, he has had frequent reminders that he was a little different – a laziness in his right leg, tingling in his right hand, and tiredness when he wished he could do one more thing. Rather than dwell on what he couldn't do, he chose to focus on getting the most out of everything he still has.
"I just feel so grateful I can do things like play the guitar, dance, and sign autographs. I think I appreciate every show more than I used to because I know it could all be taken from me. I don't want to waste even one day," Clay explained.
Now, Clay has his MS under control with a daily injection and a healthy lifestyle. Besides touring, recording, and songwriting, he finds time for his many hobbies – golf, cooking, fishing, horseback riding, cutting horse competitions, running on the beach, and playing a variety of sports.
MS Strikes at Pivotal Time
Clay's diagnosis with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) came at a pivotal time in his life. In 1996, at the age of 26, he recently had finished his fourth album, his career in country music was exploding, and his oldest daughter had just been born. The last thing he expected was the tingling and numbness on his right side, and facial spasms that hit while he was on tour. After a battery of tests, he was diagnosed with RRMS.
That first attack left Clay with serious numbness in his right leg and hand. He worried how it would affect his career. In characteristic fashion, Clay prayed about it and then set his mind to doing everything he could to overcome the obstacles MS set before him.
Clay has kept touring and recording steadily since he was diagnosed. He is well-known for his high-energy concerts and performance style. Knowing that others with MS have not been so lucky led him to the decision to form the Band Against MS Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to making information about living with MS available and providing funding for research.
Singer Becomes Ally in Fight Against MS
"Being diagnosed with MS hasn't been easy," said Clay. "I choose to view it as a 'bump in the road' rather than a detour, because I have been blessed to still be able to do the things I love. I know not everyone who is diagnosed with MS is that lucky. I want to help them by providing both a resource for information about MS and to take a leadership position in the fight to find a cure for this disease. The Band Against MS Foundation is an extension of those goals."
Clay announced his formation of the Band Against MS Foundation in February 2003. Throughout the year, he works to raise awareness about MS and give those living with the disease hope that research will lead to a cure in the future. Clay is encouraging others to join him in the fight against MS and plays an active role in funding MS research through the Band Against MS Foundation. For more information about Clay's album and tour schedule, log onto www.claywalker.com.