The 700 Club
BAND AGAINST MS
Certain artists just seem to have an innate sense of what it takes to please an audience. Multi-platinum country music sensation Clay Walker is one of those artists. Whether on stage or in the recording studio, Walker never gives less than a hundred percent, and it's that kind of dedicated work ethic combined with God-given talent that have made him one of the most successful country acts of the past decade.
During that same decade, while his career was sky-rocketing, Walker faced a diagnosis that left him with the fear that his success could all be stripped away. In 1996, he was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). When he was first diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, his biggest fear was he would not be able to continue to lead the active lifestyle that was so important to him. Eight years later, he continues to perform to sold-out crowds, ride horses, play golf, and run on the beach with his daughters — activities he was afraid MS would take from him.
In 2003, Walker decided that rather than allowing MS to strip him of his life, he would dedicate his life to help find a cure. He stepped forward to form the Band Against MSSM Foundation to raise money for MS research and programs, as well as raise awareness about the disease.
"I feel blessed to continue to be so healthy. Sometimes I would feel guilty because I know not everyone who is diagnosed with MS is that lucky," said Clay. "I want to help those with MS who have not been so fortunate by providing them both a resource for information about MS, and the hope that someone else is helping to raise money to find MS treatments and a cure for this disease. The Band Against MSSM Foundation is an extension of those goals."
NOT AFRAID ANYMORE
When Walker was diagnosed with MS, doctors originally told him he’d have less than eight years to live. Walker broke down and cried when he heard the news. He was at the top of his career, had a 3 month old daughter at home, and everything to live for! But Walker had a foundation of faith in the Lord that carried him through.
The morning after his diagnosis, Walker woke up and closed himself in a room with his guitar. He played old hymns and prayed. He says he just got down on his face and cried out to God. “When I was finished praying,” he says, “I knew God absolutely had me in his hands and I wasn’t afraid anymore.”
He went back to the doctors that day and they told him he was not going to die. Walker says he felt the presence of Satan rejoicing when he learned he had M.S. but says he knew that God never left his side. “When you have faith, it doesn’t matter what happens to your body,” Walker adds. He’s now been in remission from the disease for eight years.
Walker’s strong faith began when he found the Lord at 15 years old. He grew up poor, and recalls one particular night when his life changed. It was 1985 and he was reading from a paperback version of the “Good News.” He was struck by Solomon’s prayer for wisdom and began praying it. He got down on his knees that night and prayed and says his life changed after that. That same year he won a major talent contest and has since continued to succeed. He says he knows that his talent, success and everything he has in life are gifts from God.
THE FOUNDATION FOR A CURE
The Band Against MS Foundation is a 501 (c) (3), or not-for-profit organization committed to providing educational information for those living with Multiple Sclerosis, funding programs researching a cure for Multiple Sclerosis, and funding programs helping those living with the disease.
The five goals of the Foundation include:
- To help provide hope for those living with MS.
- To educate those living with MS about drug therapies and treatments.
- To encourage individuals living with MS to seek appropriate treatment.
- To fund research seeking a cure for the disease.
- To fund programs providing assistance to people living with MS
Band Against MS plans to provide educational information and research grants to institutions searching for a cure or treatment for MS, and fund programs that help those living with the disease.
SINGING FOR AMERICAN HEROES
Since his diagnosis with M.S., Walker has become familiar with what it’s like to spend time in the hospital. That may have been one reason he decided to bless injured soldiers at Brooke Army Medical Center with a concert. He preformed a few days before Christmas for wounded service members from various branches of the military. For those patients unable to make it to the concert, he made a personal visit to the burn center and amputee care center also. He visited and signed autographs, while thanking the service members for their sacrifices. Walker says that seeing the injured troops makes it hard to complain about his disease. “I wish the whole world could see what these soldiers have endured so that we are free to practice our faith,” Walker says.
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