On Saturday morning, hundreds of people will gather in Kansas City, Kan., at Sporting Park for a fundraiser to benefit people with multiple sclerosis.
Most of the participants in Walk MS: Kansas City 2015 are people who either have MS, members of their family, co-workers or their friends. They all put on their walking shoes, starting at 8 a.m., and then follow the assigned routes. Some people are in wheelchairs, others on walkers or canes. But everyone is committed to doing her or his part for the fundraiser. Even children and pets participate.
People have a choice of walking 1 mile, 3.16 miles or 6.2 miles around the stadium and the Kansas Speedway. Water stations and snack locations are included for people who need a pick-me-up.
This will be my third year of my participation with my partner Bette Tate-Beaver, who was diagnosed with MS more than 20 years ago. We take the longer route with the dedicated others.
MS Walks take place in cities all over the country. The first was in 1988 in Minneapolis with people walking to St. Paul. “Walk MS events raise $50 million a year to help people with MS move forward with their lives and end MS forever, with more than 330,000 people participating in events held in every single state,” the National MS Society website reports.
MS is a disabling disease of the central nervous system. The cause is unknown. More than 2.3 million people worldwide have MS. There is no single test for the disease, causing the diagnosis to often be missed. Symptoms can vary and include fatigue, mobility challenges, cognitive problems or dizziness.
“Research has demonstrated that MS occurs in most ethnic groups, including African-Americans, Asians and Hispanics/Latinos but is most common amongst Caucasians,” the national website says. “Susceptibility rates vary among these groups, with recent findings suggesting that African American women have a higher than previously reported risk of developing MS.”
The walk in Kansas City, Kan., includes booths providing people with the latest information about MS research, pharmaceuticals, equipment and therapy. The goal of the Kansas City area walk is to raise $265,000. With people’s help, it’s achievable.