The Eastern Shore is never short on fun events to attend, including those for a good cause. This Saturday, April 5th at 9am, community members will gather to walk for a cause during the Annual Walk MS. Many people don’t realize that MS (Multiple Sclerosis) affects 10,000 Marylanders and 2.5 million people worldwide each year. Simply stated that’s a lot of lives that could use a little help, hope and support.
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system. Thought to be an autoimmune disease, MS occurs when one’s own body attacks the myelin surrounding and protecting the nerves. Symptoms range and can include tingling, numbness, slurred speech and vision changes, tremors, fatigue, spasticity and difficulty with cognition. While MS is not a fatal disease, it is an unpredictable one and can range from very mild to intermittent to steadily progressive. MS typically affects young women, predominantly striking those between 20 and 50 with women making up two-thirds of those diagnosed. Currently there is no FDA approved treatment for progressive MS.
Each year the Maryland Chapter of Walk MS walks to create a world free of MS. Walk MS serves as a day for those affected and their loved ones to come together and celebrate the progress in the battle against MS while showing the power of connections. The money raised from the walk goes towards the MS Society – the Maryland Chapter – to help fund research and to provide local residents with essential services.
This year’s Walk MS Ambassador is Sonja Warner, a local high school math teacher who has been participating in Walk MS since 2003. Her husband, a former police officer, was diagnosed with MS in 2001. Warner explained the wide-ranging effects that MS can have on those diagnosed, pointing out, “with some people it is obvious that they have MS, like my husband, who can’t walk one step by himself. With others you can’t tell unless you know. MS drains people of their energy. Someone who appears “healthy” may be struggling more than most of us can imagine.”
This Saturday’s walk will be held at the Salisbury Park/Zoo, with a second walk slated for Saturday, May 10 along the Boardwalk in Ocean City. “Everyone should come out and walk,” encouraged Warner, adding “and of course donations are always welcome (up until June) and we can still use volunteers at the Ocean City walk.”
Whether you or a loved one has been effected by MS or not, head out to the Salisbury Zoo Saturday or the Ocean City Boardwalk May 10 to show support a truly deserving cause.