Seventeen walks, one destination: a world free of multiple sclerosis (MS). The Greater Delaware Valley Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society is looking for enthusiastic individuals to walk, start a team or volunteer to help plan their 20th annual MS Walk at the West Goshen Township Park on Sunday, April 27.For the past 20 years, the MS Society has hosted 17 walks annually across Pennsylvania and New Jersey. This year, there will be MS walks in seven different locations on, April 27 and 10 on, May 4.
The goal of this year’s walk is to raise a record-breaking $3 million to fund research programs and services for the 11,000 people living with MS in the Greater Delaware Valley area.
According to WebMD, multiple sclerosis, is an autoimmune disease that mistakenly attacks the brain and spinal cord, which may result in loss of muscle control, vision, balance and sensation. The brain becomes unable to send and receive messages, and this breakdown of communication causes the symptoms of MS.
The disease is not genetic nor is it contagious. It is chronic and unpredictable, affecting 2.5 million people worldwide, as stated by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The majority of people diagnosed with MS do not become severely disabled and generally have a normal life expectancy.
Each year, 500 supporters come out to join the movement at the West Goshen Township Park. Registration begins at 9 a.m. on the morning of the walk.
There are three different opportunities to walk for a great cause, the first of which is a Kids Fun Run at 9:30 a.m. Children ages 12 and under have the chance to run approximately 75 yards in support of MS. A 2K walk begins at 10 a.m. followed by a 5K Run at 10:30 a.m.
Along the way, plenty of replenishing snacks and drinks will be available, followed by a lunch time celebration at each finish line. This year’s MS Walk is also filled with celebratory entertainment in honor of its anniversary with musical performances by Steve Liberace and Michael Kropp.
There are a number of ways to get involved with the MS Walk this year. The first is to increase the number of participants by registering as a team or individual for a walk or run by visiting www.walk4ms.org and selecting the West Goshen site. Viewers can choose to help the cause for free, the only requirement is the desire to do something about MS now.
There are perks that accompany the team program, including a personal coordinator throughout the entire year, a team photo on the day of the event and a special gift for the team captain.
To get some event planning experience on your resume, volunteer to join the planning committee. If you cannot make the event on Apr. 27, support a specific walker or team and make a donation by following the instructions on the MS Walk website.
Each year, the number of sponsors continues to grow, in hopes of creating a world free of MS. Panera Bread, Starbucks and Liberty Mutual are among the list of supportive businesses fighting for a cure.
The planning, fundraising and organizing of the West Goshen MS Walk can be attributed to WCU Alumni, Amy Snedeker, a former Marketing major now employed by the Greater Delaware Valley Chapter of the MS Society. Snedeker is the Development Coordinator for the organization and said this year WCU is going to play a big part in the MS Walk.
Snedeker said she is anxious to incorporate her former university in such a meaningful event. The Ram Mascot and WCU Cheerleaders are just a few school spirited members of the WCU Community who will be making appearances at the MS Walk.
Since this year is the 20th anniversary of the MS Walk, Snedeker, who is in charge of two other MS Walks in the region, and her coworkers have set out to meet high expectations.
“For the 20th anniversary, our objective is for everyone to increase their fundraising goals by $20,” Snedeker said.
The Greater Delaware Valley Chapter also hosts a bike MS tour in nearby regions as well. Further information can be found at www.nationalmssociety.org.
MS stops people from moving, but the MS Society exists to make sure it doesn’t. Come out and support a great cause on April 27, and fight to achieve a world free of MS.
Students and faculty interested in volunteering, joining a team or making donations can contact Snedeker by telephone at 1-800-883-WALK or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ashley Kresky is a fourth-year student majoring in communications studies with a minor in journalism. She can be reached at AK591509@wcupa.edu.