We live in a world full of fundraisers. There seems to be no end to the list of problems that we aim to solve through walking, jogging, running, or biking. Some walk to cure cancer, others walk to end domestic violence, but one group chose walking to represent their cause for a very specific purpose. The National MS Society wants everyone to understand that the ability to move should not be taken for granted. On May 1, they will walk to create a world free of Multiple Sclerosis at Walk MS in Duluth. Multiple Sclerosis, also known as MS, is an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system. According to the National Center for Biotechnology, MS is the result of the body’s immune system attacking its own nervous system. Over time this causes damage to the myelin sheath, the protective covering that surrounds nerve cells, which then causes signals between the brain and the body to be slowed or stopped. There is no known cure at this time.
According to the National MS Society’s website, the organization devotes nearly $50 million each year to MS research and supports more than 440 research grants and training fellowships. The Minnesota chapter alone serves more than 10,000 people living with Multiple Sclerosis in Minnesota and western Wisconsin.
Betty Eklund is a Duluth resident living with Multiple Sclerosis. She first participated in Walk MS last year, but this year she has formed a team with her family and friends to help raise money.
“I think it is like the snowball effect,” she said. “I hope my team continues to grow over the next month.”
The National MS Society raises money for the research and programs it provides through fundraising events like Walk MS. All proceeds from the walk in Duluth will go to the Minnesota chapter. There is no registration fee and no minimum amount of fundraising needed to walk, although fundraising is encouraged.
Walk MS will take place in 18 cities across Minnesota and western Wisconsin to raise money as well as awareness of the disease. The Duluth teams will start at the Hampton Inn in Canal Park, and will walk a two- to four-mile route along the Lakewalk. Individuals and teams can register online anytime before the event and volunteers are also needed to help with a variety jobs. Donations can be made online to the Walk MS team of your choice.