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Hundreds to lace ’em up for walk to fight MS

Donna Daniels
Staff Writer

On Saturday, May 18, hundreds of folks in Glenwood Springs will use their feet to bring researchers one step closer to a cure for multiple sclerosis.

The 13th annual MS Walk begins at the No Name Rest Area on Interstate 70. This year’s walk has been dubbed the David Donelan MS Walk 2002, in memory of a Glenwood Springs man who died of the disease in April 2001.

Registration is at 8 a.m. and the walk starts at 9.

Walkers can get a good start on the day with a pancake breakfast prepared by the Kiwanis Club. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children. All the proceeds from the breakfast will be donated to the MS Walk, said walk coordinator Tillie Fischer.

To avoid parking congestion at the No Name Rest Area, there’ll be free shuttle service from Glenwood Springs High School every 15 minutes from 8 a.m. until 9 a.m. Shuttles will return to the parking lot from No Name at 11 a.m., running every 15 minutes.

Every year, the majority of participants collect donations before the walk. Those who raise more than $100 will receive a free T-shirt, Fischer said.

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

About 400 people turned out last year for the MS Walk.

“We’re hoping for 450 this year,” Fischer said.

So far, 24 teams have registered for this year’s walk. Teams must be made up of at least four people. Most teams choose a name and often wear costumes, Fischer said.

“They really enliven the spirit of the event,” she said.

Last year netted $56,000, said co-coordinator Rolly Fischer, Tillie’s husband. The Colorado chapter of the National MS Society raised $4.5 million in 2001.

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. Most are of Northern European heritage and living in northern latitudes.

In fact, Colorado has one of the highest incidences of MS in the country. It 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.

MS is a slow killer, and it is incurable. However, research has made huge strides in treating the disease. Three drugs are being used to treat the disease, and they appear to slow down its progression, Tillie Fischer said.

Money raised by the walks also supports programs for MS victims. For $120 a victim can receive one day of home health care from a certified nurse; $275 buys a safety grab bar for the bathroom and $500 pays for a wheelchair ramp.


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