BELFAST – Belfast residents are rallying at Front Street Pub, Saturday, September 28 for the National MS Society’s Belfast Walk and Paddle to create a world free of multiple sclerosis for more than 3,000 Maine residents, and their families, who are affected by multiple sclerosis. Walkers will follow a 4 mile route along the waterfront and through the town of Belfast starting at the Pub at 10 a.m. In addition, participants will also have the option to participate in the event by paddling a route led by our proud partner, Belfast Paddle Sports (www.belfastpaddlesports.com). Paddlers can bring their own boat/board or may rent one at Belfast Paddle Sports. Paddlers bringing their own boat/board must also bring their own paddles and life jacket.
Check-in for the event starts at 9 a.m. Each participant agrees to raise a minimum of $25, but most walkers and paddlers easily average over $200. Organized by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Greater New England Chapter (which serves Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont), more than 200,000 walkers participate nationwide in Walk MS each year at more than 600 sites, and raise over $30 million. Family and corporate Walk and Paddle teams and volunteers can register online, www.walkMSgne.org, or by calling 1 800 344 4867, and in person the day of the Walk.
“Without Walk MS, we wouldn’t have the funds for newly diagnosed education and support,” said Linda Guiod, Executive Vice President for Chapter Programs. “Without the Walk, we’d be set back 50 years when there were no approved treatments for MS, and there was very little understanding about how MS works.”
Last year, nearly 10,000 walkers participated in Walk MS throughout Maine, Mass., N.H., and Vermont, and raised well over $2.6 million. Eighty five (85) percent of monies raised by the Chapter provide vital MS education, support, advocacy, and services in the local community, while funding cutting edge research into prevention, treatment, and cure. Of the many corporate sponsors that make Walk MS possible each year, our most loyal and generous are Biogen Idec, EMD Serono, Bernie & Phyl’s, Acorda, Data Associates, Patients Like Me, Pure Protein, Maine Magazine, Burns & McDonnell, CES, Inc., Darling’s Auto and Poland Spring. Local sponsors for the Belfast Walk and Paddle include the Front Street Shipyard, Front St. Pub, Belfast Co-op, Dunkin’ Donuts, Hannaford’s, and Subway.
Multiple sclerosis interrupts the flow of information between brain and body and can stop people from moving forward in their lives. The progress, severity, and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, but teenagers and even young children can have the disease. More than twice as many women as men have MS, which affects more than 400,000 people in the U.S., and 2.1 million worldwide.
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society helps each person address the challenges of living with MS. Early and ongoing treatment with an FDA-approved therapy can make a difference for people with multiple sclerosis. Learn about your options by talking to your health care professional and contacting the National MS Society at www.MSnewengland.org, or 1-800-344-4867.