Walk raises funds for multiple sclerosis research
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society held Walk MS: Houston to seek finances for research and heighten awareness of the disease Sunday at TDECU Stadium.
MS is a disease in which the immune system eats away the protective covering of nerves. It affects more than 400,000 people in the U.S. alone, with about 200 new cases every week.
Symptoms of MS and their severity vary, but can include vision loss, pain, fatigue and impaired coordination. Some people with MS may experience these symptoms every day while some rarely do.
“Today we walk for those who have trouble doing so,” said Lindsay Cohen, taking part in the walk to commemorate Jessica Danziger, a preschool teacher with MS who taught Cohen’s child. “It’s a degenerative disease that makes it harder and harder to do things on your own.”
Danziger was a UH alumna.
The 1K and 5K walks began at TDECU Stadium. Participants are split into groups, each with a team leader.
Those who were unable to participate could sign up as a virtual walker online and raise funds there. Different teams raised money through social media.
The team that raised the most funds was Sister Act with $13,108.
One team was a part of the Respiratory Care Club of Lone Star College, a group of students all studying to become respiratory therapists.
“We go to all types of events like this to show our support, but this is our first time attending Walk MS,” said Christina Hernandez, the club’s vice president.
Walk MS occurs nationwide to raise funds for the disease. The society’s South Central Chapter hosted Walk MS: Houston 2016 and has so far reached 72 percent of its $160,000 goal.
Walk MS’ purpose is not only to find funding that can aid the research and treatment of the diseases, but also to bring awareness.
“Before my daughter was diagnosed, I didn’t know MS existed,” said Melony White, a parent of a child with MS. “This helps bring so much awareness to the disease.”
The University Eye Institute works with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to provide MS Eye CARE, which offers a cheaper alternative to diagnose MS than an MRI. The program also pays 70 to to 95 percent of the bill for those who can’t afford it on their own.
Among the several people who helped make the event happen were George Cruz and Matthew Valasquez, two students from Chavez High School.
“We decided to volunteer for National Honor Society,” Valasquez said. “It’s been a lot of fun and it has taught me a lot about MS.”
Every year, Walk MS has 330,000 participants nationwide. It is the largest private source of funding for MS research in the world.