Ok, so technically it's Walk MS, but I switched it around to make it work for my letter M. Last weekend five of us participated in this walk to raise money and awareness for Multiple Sclerosis.
MS is a disease that attacks the central nervous system (CNS). Since every function of our body is controlled by the CNS the symptons of MS are different for each person. This means that while one person may require a wheel chair, another person will be able to walk just fine because the MS is attacking the CNS in different area's, giving them different symptoms. Unfortunately this also makes it very hard to diagnose and many people will undergo years of tests and unanswered questions before they are diagnosed.
My mom has MS and so this year we formed a team and walked in her honor. This was our first year and we had a small team (my husband, sister, and sister-in-law), but lots of heart! Walk MS is a three mile walk that loops around the Plaza and has two rest area's along the way. It was a warm morning, but a steady breeze helped to keep us cool. I actually heard one woman say that every time she started to get hot and feel like the walk was going to be too much the breeze would pick back up to cool her off and energize her to keep going.
Whenever I participate in one of these fundraising walks there always comes a point when I think about sneaking out of the group and heading back to my car. My money has already been turned in so there is no need for me to continue on with the walk. No one will know if I finish (or if I even started).
Walk MS had a smaller group of people than other walks I have participated in and over the course of the three miles we got more and more spaced out. This allowed me time to think about why I chose to participate in this walk and how important it is to actually follow through.
There were many people on the walk that (it seemed obvious) had MS. They were walking with canes, had a limp, or were even in wheelchairs. Knowing that MS effects everyone in a different way, I am sure there many more people there with symptoms I did not recognize. Every time I would come across one of these people I would be reminded of why I was walking. The National MS Society uses the money we raised for research that leads them closer to finding a cure. The money is also used to support those living with the disease today by helping to pay for medical treatments, braces, canes...
I'm not just walking for a cure: I'm walking to raise awareness of MS. Whenever a crowd is gathered (and walking a three mile course) you draw attention of people passing by. The more people are made aware, the more people who will participate, and the more money that will be raised. The more money we raise the more people we can help.
We will be walking again next year and I am so excited for the number of people who have already said they want to join our group. It's going to be even better when we have a large group walking together!!!