Walk MS: Raising Awareness of Multiple Sclerosis and Fundraising for MS Research
Around 2-million people worldwide, 400,000 in the U.S., and more than 4,000 in Louisiana alone suffer from Multiple Sclerosis. There's no known cure so far, but a lot of research is being done on treatments to alleviate the symptoms. However, it's very expensive work. The purpose behind this weekend's Walk MS in Bossier City is to help fund that research.
Local organizer Teresa Willis says hundreds of people participated in last year's walk, but not enough people have signed on for this year's event.
"We have close to 40 teams registered currently. We usually have close to 500 people there. However, this year our online registration numbers are down from last year," she said. "So we're really hoping that we have a showing on Saturday."
The walk is two loops around the Louisiana Boardwalk, which equals a mile. Wheelchairs and stollers are welcome, and the area is wheelchair accessible. After the walk, attendees can check out the many vendor and information booths that will be set up at the site. Representatives of various companies that manufacture MS drugs will be there, and a local hospital will be there demonstrating a new MRI machine available in town.
The walk also includes free food and drinks, snow cones, inflatable jump houses for the kids, and dancers from Power and Grace Dance Studio will perform. Things usually wrap up at around 10 a.m.
Willis, herself, suffers from MS. She told me it's difficult to diagnose because the symptoms mimic other diseases. And the medications to treat it are incredibly expensive -- $30,000 or $40,000 a year, just for the MS medicine.
"That doesn't count all the other medicines you have to take," she said. "I take 12 medicines a day. It's just a very expensive disease to have, unfortunately. And it can be very debilitating, too. That's why a cure is so important."
Willis also said the vast majority of people who have the disease are diagnosed between age 20 and 40.
"I was diagnosed when I was 32. And that was five-and-a-half years ago," she said. "You're in the prime of your life and you have many years ahead of you. So it's a very expensive disease because you have so many years of treatment."
CLICK HERE for more information about the MS Walk, and how you can get registered.
Since I have an uncle who suffers with this disease, it's an issue that's very near and dear to me. So I encourage everyone who can help out to please make it to this event.
How Is Multiple Sclerosis Different From Muscular Dystrophy? Listen to Willis' explanation, and her personal story, here: