About 300 people are expected to take part in the Red Deer Jayman BUILT MS Walk on May 27th, helping to raise research and programming dollars in the fight against multiple sclerosis.
The event runs at Great Chief Park at the Kiwanis Picnic Shelter.
Opening ceremonies will take place at 8:30 a.m.
The ceremonies will feature words from Kim Schreiner, MLA for Red Deer North, as well as MS Society and MS Ambassadors, Philippa Brysiuk and Jodi McCutcheon-Teuling who will speak with her 13-year-old son, Taylor.
The walk kicks off at 9 a.m. for either the 2 km or 5 km routes.
MS is a chronic, often disabling disease of the central nervous system comprising the brain, spinal cord and optic nerve. It is one of the most common neurological diseases affecting young adults in Canada.
“We believe that a cure for MS is achievable,” says Tammy Norris, events and volunteer engagement coordinator, MS Walk – Red Deer. Funds raised through the walk will help fund local programs and services to help people manage and cope with MS, and will also fuel Canadian MS research into causes, improved treatments and a cure, she added.
“The goal this year is to raise $92,000,” explained Norris. “(At this point) we are also up quite a few walkers from last year – about 100,” she added. “It’s looking phenomenal – a great turn-out, great energy and great sponsors. It’s been really well-received in the community and people seem excited about it.”
Last year, about 160 took part, and this year there are already 260 participants signed up.
Norris said funds raised support programs for the local region, which stretches from Lacombe and Stettler to Drumheller.
Overall, 60% goes to support ongoing research and 40% goes to a number of programs and services.
For Jodi McCutcheon-Teuling, who was diagnosed in 2017, the event represents an opportunity to raise support and create a better future without MS for her children.
“Without events like the Jayman BUILT MS Walk people wouldn’t know about MS, and the ways they can help,” she said.
Even her children are becoming involved, according to a release.
“When I was in the hospital and could no longer volunteer at his school, my oldest son, Taylor did a presentation at his school about why I’d been away, and taught his Grade six classmates the basics about MS.
“From that point his presentation turned into a bake sale that raised him quite a bit of money and earned an Elite Fleet Hoodie. Taylor is so proud of his MS hoodie and wears it all the time. My youngest son has a goal to earn a hoodie this year as well.”
Registration can be done online at mswalks.ca, or by visiting or calling the local office at 403-346-0290.
Norris said the fundraising goal this year has been set at more than $90,000.
According to the Society, Canada has one of the highest rates of multiple sclerosis in the world with an estimated one in 340 Canadians living with the disease.
Alberta, and Central Alberta in particular, also tend to have a relatively higher number of cases.
MS can occur at any age, but is usually diagnosed between the ages of 15 to 40.
MS has also been diagnosed in children as young as two years old – and in far older adults. It is also three times more likely to occur in women than in men and is more common in people of northern European background, according to the Society.
Norris added that it tends to affect people differently as well. Symptoms can include problems with balance/dizziness, bladder and bowel dysfunction, cognitive impairment, depression, fatigue, difficulty in walking, pain, sexual dysfunction, and tremor among others.
Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 40, and the unpredictable effects of MS last for the rest of their lives.
To date, the cause is unknown and there is no cure.
For more about the MS Walk, visit mswalks.ca.