400 expected to step out to fight MS

Donna Daniels
Post Independent Staff

On Sunday, May 10, hundreds of folks will take to the Glenwood Canyon bike path in the 14th annual MS Walk. Their steps will bring researchers closer to a cure for multiple sclerosis.

The walk begins at the No Name Rest Area on Interstate 70. Registration is at 8 a.m. and the walk begins at 8:30.

Walkers can get a good start on the day beginning at 7:30 a.m. with a pancake breakfast prepared by the Kiwanis Club. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children. All proceeds will be donated to the MS Walk.

To avoid parking congestion at the No Name Rest Area, a free shuttle bus service will run from Glenwood Springs High School every 15 minutes, from 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. The buses will return to the high school parking lot from No Name from 10-11 a.m., also running every 15 minutes.

Every year, most participants collect donations before the walk. Those who raise more than $100 receive a free T-shirt.

Anyone can join the walk and there is no registration fee.

“We’re hoping for about 400 people this year,” said race organizer Penny Donelan.

Last year the MS Walk in Glenwood Springs raised approximately $50,000.

Many of the top fund-raising teams from last year will also be in this year’s MS Walk. Michael’s Angels Team, which won the silver team plaque for raising $5,479 last year, will be walking this year.

The team is named for Kelli Gardner’s son Michael, who was killed in a car accident last year.

“We’ll dedicate the walk to him,” Kelli said.

Kelli, who also suffers from MS, her husband Matt, and various relatives and friends will be part of the team.

Also joining this year’s walk will be Team MS Mama, headed up by Erin Flink. Last year the team raised $2,865 and won a bronze plaque for fund-raising.

Last year Flink was diagnosed with MS. But this January she received some welcome news. As it turns out, she was misdiagnosed and does not have the debilitating disease. Yet she remains committed to helping those who have MS.

“This year has been sort of a gift for me, to learn how not to be selfish,” she said. “It’s even more important for me now to help with this.”

Her team will be bigger this year, with many members of her church, Christ Community Church in Basalt, joining in as well as friends and family. She will dedicate their walk “to moms who have MS,” she said.

Flink is also hoping to raise about $3,000.

“I’m very pushy about asking for money,” she said.

MS is a disease of the central nervous system that eats away the myelin coating of the nerves. Most victims, 73 percent, are women.

Most are stricken between the ages of 30 and 40. And most are of northern European heritage and live in northern latitudes.

In fact, Colorado has one of the highest incidences of MS in the country. The disease occurs in one out of 800 Coloradans.

Some people live with a mild case for decades, but it can also cause rapid deterioration leading to death.

There is no cure for MS, although the development of new drugs in the last few years has proven to slow the progression of the disease.

Contact Donna Daniels: 945-8515, ext 520

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