This country star uses his stage for much more than sharing his music.
When you think of Clay Walker, you think of an incredibly talented singer with a sweet country grin, a deep silky voice and a seemingly perfect life. However, not many people know that Clay Walker has been fighting Multiple Sclerosis for nearly 19 years.
Walker was on top of the world after the success of his first single "What's It to You" and received a life-changing diagnosis just three short years after the release. Walker was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, a disabling neurological disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. For those with the disease, the ability to speak, write and walk can often be lost.
"When I was dealt that blow I was devastated being diagnosed with a debilitating disease," Walker said in an interview with KTRK-TV.
Instead of throwing in the towel and letting the discouraging news stop him from doing what he loves, Walker took the bull by the horns and decided to fight. Walker accepts his duty of being an ambassador for the disease and even uses his fame as a platform to help spread awareness.
This past January, the Texas native hosted a Band Against MS (BAMS) ride in Hockley, Texas to raise money for the cause. Though Walker's disability is a challenge at times, he still gets on that bike and cycles along with he rest of the participants. He even reaches out to every rider that passes!
"It's harder for me to walk or run than it is for a normal person, I mean, I have to think about it," Walker admits.
To date, Walker's bike ride has brought in roughly $2 million, and the money is mainly put towards Multiple Sclerosis research and programs in the Houston area. On top of raising money, Walker also lends emotional support and makes personal phone calls to people who are newly diagnosed with the disease.
"I've heard it said to whom much is given, much is expected. I just want to do my part," Walker explains. "To see people who have MS and their families riding side by side. It makes me get a little bit emotional."
Walker has been relapse-free for 17 years and with recent medical advancements, he has even been able to cut down on the amount of injections he has to endure each week.
"The old saying used to be diagnose and adios, and now that spectrum has completely changed," Walker said.
It's heartwarming to see how this country star is using his stage not only to share his music, but also to make a change in the world.
Keep inspiring us, Clay!