PARIS – Darcy Lund’s vision has rustic cabins and a pirate ship playground.

Lund, a Paris resident, has struggled with multiple sclerosis, and now she wants to help others who have the disease.

Her idea is to form a camp for individuals with MS to gather and reflect. While the focus will be on people with all levels of MS, the camp would be open to anyone. She will call it “The Outside In.”

Yet it is only in the planning stages.

She is in the process of finding an attorney to set the project up with nonprofit status. She also needs a business plan.

Then she will have to secure land.

“I fell in love with Andover,” Lund said. “But the possibilities in Lovell are nice also.”

Children will be welcome with adult supervision, Lund said. She hopes to have a pirate ship-themed playground that is handicapped accessible. Lund said she knows this is a large undertaking, but she is prepared for the challenge.

Funding is an obstacle, however. Personally finding money to simply supply her printer with ink is a problem. She said the support she has received for the project has been phenomenal, yet she needs far more to get the project off the ground.

She does have one thing to show for the future development – a checkbook with her name and “The Outside In” printed on it. It is also on her home phone answering machine.

One person offering support is Melissa Williamson, project coordinator for the Maine chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, based in Falmouth.

“It’s a great idea,” Williamson said. “She has a lot of passion around it.”

Williamson said there is nothing like this specifically for MS, though there are retreat centers for people with handicaps in general.

Lund has two kids, ages 4 and 13, whom she cannot care for full time because of the disease.

Maine has a higher level of people with MS than anywhere else in the country, Lund said.

There are 3,000 people registered with the Maine chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Williamson said, though since people with the disease are not required to register the number of people in Maine with the disease is probably higher.

Williamson said there is no definitive research to explain why the numbers in Maine are so high. Contributing factors could be that MS is more prevalent in communities farther away from the equator. Also, Caucasians are more susceptible to MS, Williamson said.

The hardest part about living with the disease is the isolation and the poverty. Lund lives in a small apartment in South Paris.

Growing up, Lund said she was very active. She figure-skated and hiked. That was before the disease took over her life.

She also was an entrepreneur.

“I always wanted to have a business called The Outside In,” Lund said.



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