DENVER (CBS4) – Nearly 10,000 people laced up their sneakers Saturday morning for the 21st annual Walk MS.
“It’s about family, it’s about community,” Carrie Nolan, President of the Colorado and Wyoming Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society said. “Collectively we make up a wonderful MS community that’s about the MS movement.”
About 400 different teams took part in the annual walk in Denver’s City Park. Among the walkers was Jaya Marienau who has participated in the event the last nine years in support of her cousin.
PHOTO GALLERY: Walk MS 2017
“Today is about the little victories,” Marienau told CBS4. “We are here for a purpose and that purpose is to not ever have to walk again for this disease.”
Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is a chronic disease of the immune system attacking the central nervous system. Severe cases can result in paralysis and doctors do not know what causes the disease. Marienau’s cousin, Anuska Ullal, was diagnosed with MS nine years ago.
“I’ve moved into a progressive form and so I’m starting to get more loss of feeling in my legs and more in my back and arms,” Ullal said. “Over the last two years it’s gone a bit more downhill.”
Which is why the National MS Society is fighting the uphill battle to find a cure. Walk MS in Denver alone is on track to raise $1 million this year for research and resources. Across the nation, Nolan said the organization has reached an important milestone.
“This year, collectively, we will surpass the $1 billion mark in fundraising,” she said. “Those dollars will be invested in research and resources, such as helping people find referrals for doctors, understanding their drug treatments, finding information about accessibility issues and navigating insurance.”
The money raised is all thanks to those who took steps around City Park and other locations across the nation to help scientists take a step closer to finding a cure.
“I really hope in my daughter’s generation they never have to hear they have MS,” Ullal said. “It would be a dream come true.”
CBS4 is a proud sponsor of Walk MS and CBS4 News Anchor Karen Leigh emceed this year’s walk. For more information on how to donate, visit nationalMSsociety.org.
Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team in 2012 as the morning reporter, covering national stories like the Aurora Theater Shooting and devastating Colorado wildfires. She now anchors CBS4 Weekend Morning News and reports during the week. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @KellyCBS4.