Taking steps in the fight against MS
Walk MS is an annual event dedicated to raising funds for research, programs, and services for those afflicted with multiple sclerosis
By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD — Throughout the spring and summer, teams and individuals across the nation and the state of Wisconsin will participate in Walk MS to raise funds for research, programs, and services in the fight against multiple sclerosis (MS).
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MS is a “disease of the central nervous system,” and “MS is a progressive and usually fluctuating disease with exacerbations (patients feeling worse) and remissions (patients feeling better) over many decades.” The CDC also says that the cause of MS is not known, but “in many patients with MS, permanent disability and even death can occur.”
There is currently no cure for MS, but there are treatments that may slow the disease and help to control its symptoms.
In hopes of eventually finding a cure, developing stronger treatments against MS, and raising funds for better services and programs for people with MS, Marshfield will hold its Walk MS event on Saturday, April 25.
Check-in for the event starts at 9 a.m. at Wildwood Station in Marshfield. The walk begins at 10 a.m. There is no cost to register, but donations are encouraged. Those that pledge or raise $125 or more will get a Walk MS T-shirt.
This is the local group’s primary annual fundraiser, and this year marks the fourth year of Walk MS in Marshfield. At least 30 local businesses have donated money or services to the event, and all funds raised stay in the state of Wisconsin said members of the Marshfield Walk MS Committee.
There will also be food and raffle prizes available following the walk. Dunkin Donuts will provide coffee and a donut during the registration period for a small charge.
All members of the local Walk MS committee are either personally afflicted with MS or have a connection to someone with the disease. Crystal Litwaitis, a member of the local committee, said that with each passing year, the event is raising awareness for MS.
“The more we do this walk, the more awareness we’re getting,” Litwaitis said.
Last year the event raised about $24,000, and this year the committee’s goal is to raise $28,000.
Litwaitis, who has MS, said that the disease impacts each person differently.
“Every single one of us is different, so a treatment that would work for one might not work for the next,” she said.
Committee member Lyn Steinmetz, who also has MS, added, “The thing is it’s an invisible illness. A lot of times people don’t know that there’s something going on.”
Because there is no cure for MS, and because it is not readily detectable, the committee feels that their work to raise awareness and funds is especially important.
“Walk MS helps get the awareness out there. People don’t realize how common MS is,” said committee member Peggy Machtan.
To register for Walk MS, visit walkmswisconsin.org. You may register the day of the event, but the committee recommends using the website to register in advance. For any questions about the event, or if you are interested in volunteering to help staff the event, contact Peggy Machtan via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is also a local support group for those impacted by multiple sclerosis that generally meets once a month. For more information about that group, call Sue Anderson at the Marshfield Clinic Neurology Department, 715-387-5350.