MS fighter hopes to win in a walk Ellen Franck: Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, she wasted no time in volunteering her considerable energy to its cause.

SUNDAY SNAPSHOT

March 03, 1996|By Laura Lippman

Ellen Franck couldn't have told you much about multiple sclerosis before she was diagnosed with it four years ago. But as soon as doctors figured out the cause of her bouts with fatigue and vision problems, she went straight to the Multiple Sclerosis Society and volunteered.

"I'm an all-or-nothing person," she says. No kidding: It wasn't long before she was sitting on the local society's board, as a representative of her employer, Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. And this year, for the second time, she is the chairwoman for April's MS Walk in Baltimore and Towson.

The walk is the Maryland society's single biggest fund-raiser, Ms. Franck explains. Last year, more than 4,000 people participated, raising $340,000.

The cause of MS, which affects the central nervous system, is still unknown. Symptoms usually appear between ages 20 and 40; women are more likely to be affected than men. About 300,000 Americans have multiple sclerosis.

Grateful to have only limited problems, Ms. Franck throws her formidable energy into the Multiple Sclerosis Society. She also has time for other volunteer activities and boards, serving on Energy Advocates and helping out at Animal Rescue, a private shelter.

BGE, where she has worked 28 years, has been supportive, allowing her to work from home when fatigue overcomes her. The utility also is active in MS fund raising, holding bake sales and raffles. The prize for one raffle is for Ms. Franck, director of customer assistance, to do another employee's job for a half-day.

F: "And won't they be sorry then," she says with a laugh.

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