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MS Walk drew 100, raised funds for research

May 7, 2014   ·   0 Comments

By Tabitha Wells – Last Saturday, over 100 people gathered at Orangeville District Secondary School for the Mandarin MS Walk, a walk and charity event to raise funds for medical research to find a cure for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a an inflammatory disease affecting the brain and spinal cord, which affect the nervous system causing a range of physical and mental issues.

“The walk is important because Canada has the highest rate of MS in the world,” said Amanda Snow, walk Co-ordinator for Orangeville. “There are 100,000 Canadians living with MS and we walk in communities all across Canada, so it shows that we have a united front and together we are going to beat MS.”

Currently, there is no cure for Multiple Sclerosis and the actual cause of it is unclear to doctors. Depending on the intensity of the disease, it can affect everything from being able to walk for some, to being able to function in an everyday capacity.

The Chair of the walk, Wendy, explained that for those who don’t have MS, or who don’t know anyone with MS, sometimes they may not realize the full value of what the walk does and provides for those who are suffering.

“I was diagnosed with MS four years ago. I did the walk a long time ago when I didn’t really know what MS was,” said Wendy. “Once you get the diagnosis for it, you learn really quick what it all entails. It’s hard to really grasp what it is and what it does until you’re actually facing it or seeing it.”

At the most recent tally of results from the walk, there were 117 people who registered for the walk with 16 teams, raising a total of $38,712.

“We had a lot of support from the community and at this point what we have tallied is amazing,” said Ms. Snow. “It’s really incredible to have so many people here showing their support, so that’s awesome.”

The people who walked this year ranged from individuals and couples, to families and large groups. One family said they drive over two hours each year to participate in the Orangeville MS Walk as part of a team to support a friend of over 30 years.

“I am walking for my friend Tom Adams,” said Mark Switzer, whose wife and two children accompanied him. “We went to high school together and we’ve still been friends ever since. He’s been with MS now for close to 20 years and we walk every year for him. We’ll do anything to help raise funds for MS so that we can help to have a way to find a cure in the future.”

The team in support of Tom consisted of over 50 people, everyone loud, rowdy and pumped to raise money for their friend.

“The walk does so much to support and bring awareness surrounding MS,” said Mr. Switzer. “We have a lot of team spirit here for Tom, and anytime we can get together and do something to help anybody with MS is great for those who have it.”

Along with the walkers, a team of volunteers is required to help the event run. Some helped out with registration, the barbecue and information, while others waited at different checkpoints to provide encouragement, support and water to participants.

“The volunteers were absolutely incredible, and they were a key part in making today’s event happen,” said Wendy. “You can’t have these kinds of things happen without the volunteers – without them, it just simply would not have been a successful day.”

The MS Walk is a national event, running all across Canada, generally over the same few select days. All proceeds raised by the walkers go to their local communities, providing help to people in the area who are struggling with MS.

For more information on Multiple Sclerosis, the MS Walk, or how to help out, visit www.mssociety.ca.

         

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