Chilly temperatures and wind didn’t stop area individuals from participating in the annual MS Walk on Sunday, and for individuals suffering from multiple sclerosis, neither did the disease.
“I am very lucky to be able to participate in events like (this),” said Kim Pearce-Schwed, who established the event nine years ago when she was diagnosed with MS. “I walk and run because there are others just like me who cannot, and it is my duty to represent them.”
More than 250 adults and children gathered in Neahwa Park at 10 a.m. to raise money for the cause, walk with their teams and show support to friends and family with the disease. Some people showed up just to give a donation, Pearce-Schwed said.
Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling degenerative disease of the central nervous system, according to a Walk MS media release. It interrupts the flow of information within the brain and between the brain and the rest of the body. The disease affects more than 2.3 million people in the world. Each hour in the United States, someone else is diagnosed with MS. But, in Upstate New York, people are diagnosed twice as often, the release said. The cause is unknown.
Teresa Glavin, a WALK MS committee member, said organizers were worried that the chilly, windy weather would hinder people from coming out. But they were pleasantly surprised.
“It worked out perfectly,” Glavin said. “We had a great turnout.”
Unlike in other years, Glavin said, the walk route remained inside the boundaries of the park and did not venture into the city. The route was at least a mile long, she said.
Organizers won’t have an immediate tally for money raised, Glavin said. It will take a few days to calculate and for all donations to be submitted. The goal for the event was to raise $25,500. Funds will go toward local services and programs and research to find a cure for the disease.