Annual fundraiser builds awareness

500 expected to participate in this year’s MS Society Walk, to help “recreate connections”

The 2014 MS Society Walk will take place May 25.

The 2014 MS Society Walk will take place May 25.

According to Trina Radford, regional manager of the Kamloops branch of the Canadian MS Society, Multiple Sclerosis, the most common neurological disease affecting young adults in Canada. 100,000 Canadians live with the disease every day of their lives.

There’s no cure for it, and no one’s figured out what causes it.

But there are ways we can help them deal with it. Approximately 400 people showed up to lend support during the 2013 MS Walk in Kamloops, and Radford is expecting close to 500 for this year’s event.

The funds raised at the MS Walk go to help the MS Society in their goal to “recreate the connections” that are lost to those with MS.

“MS breaks barriers, literally,” she said, “and our goal is to do whatever we can, whatever people need, to help repair those.”

While they can’t repair the physical connections that MS breaks within a person’s system, they can help with the barriers that those broken connections cause in one’s life.

The local centre, for example, works as a community conduit for those who need support. They offer education sessions, counseling, and connect people to different support services or agencies, including helping to fill out sometimes complicated paperwork, getting funding for things like physical equipment, “anything that helps remove barriers,” Radford said.

The Society also raises funds to help educate the next generation of scientists who will be battling the disease.

“One of the things that the MS Society has done is invest in young researchers,” Radford said, referencing one university student that worked with the society all the way through her undergraduate degree and into to her Ph.D. in developing diagnosis methods and researching MS diagnoses. “We want to do more of that. We want to shine a light on this, and that’s who’s going to do it. It’s these young scientists that we want to support in their research.”

To find out how you can get involved, either as a volunteer or participant in one of the Society’s fundraisers or awareness-building campaigns, go to mssociety.ca and look up the Kamloops Branch, or simply email info.kamloops@mssociety.ca.