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May 6, 2013

Locals show strength against MS


To help MS patients and others with disabilities, Sarah Murphy said, she aims to help see Victory Hill Farm designated as a center that can offer therapeutic riding, which her mother has found beneficial. Each patient with multiple sclerosis has different symptoms, she said.

“It’s the most unpredictable disease,’’ Sarah Murphy, who also works in home health care, said. Riding and handling horses not only is therapeutic exercise but also offer opportunities to overcome fears and gain a sense of accomplishment, she said. 

In Oneonta’s Neawha Park on Sunday, participants and volunteers, many in orange, yellow or white T-shirts, were busy walking in groups of various sizes or helping at registration booths. 

This year, the route expanded from the park into a stretch along downtown Main Street, a change made to increase awareness in the community about the walk and the MS Society’s mission, organizers said.

The MS Walk in Oneonta returned in 2006 after a hiatus, Kim Pearce-Schwed, an organizer of the local event, said Sunday. Many patients with multiple sclerosis don’t have obvious symptoms, she said, and presenting a local event that is open to participants affected by MS is an important avenue toward boosting awareness. 

The local walk may not be as large as events in Utica or other cities, organizers said, but participants and merchants created a warm and welcoming experience. 

Said Pearce-Schwed, “We’re proud of our little walk in Oneonta.”

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