The Augusta Multiple Sclerosis Center at Augusta University will host Own the Woods, a multi-sport trail festival and expo, on Sept. 14 at Blanchard Woods Park in Evans.
Own the Woods features trail competitions including cross country mountain biking and trail running with an expo showcasing fitness and health vendors, food, beverages and activities for all ages.
Own the Woods benefits the MS Center at Augusta University and serves to promote awareness about Multiple Sclerosis. One patient who has benefited greatly from the MS Center is Ben Huff of Dearing, Georgia.
“I started having symptoms a little over 20 years ago,” he said. “I started having numbness from my knees down and I knew something wasn’t right. I was running a couple of days a week with some of my friends and my knees were going numb. One of my friends who’s a registered nurse told me to go to the doctor.”
At first, doctors thought Huff might have spinal tumors but after two MRIs and temporary loss of vision in one eye, it was determined he had multiple sclerosis in October 2000.
For nearly 20 years, he’s been treated at Augusta University Health and was referred to the Multiple Sclerosis Clinic, where he has been cared for by Dr. Suzanne Smith and Rebecca Rahn, PA, for the last decade.
“I have some lasting damage in my legs, some things that handicap me a little bit, as far as actively running,” said Huff.
His wife, Jennifer Huff, is an active runner and will take part in the trail run at Own the Woods in his place.
“I’m excited for us to raise money,” he said. “The main thing is awareness. A lot of people don’t know what MS is; I didn’t either until I got it.”
After nearly two decades going to AU Health for treatment, Huff is passionate about raising money for the MS Center.
“They don’t treat me like a patient, these people are family.”