Strollers walk along the Oak Bay waterfront during last year’s Scotiabank MS Walk.

Get ready to walk to fight MS along Oak Bay beach

Willows Beach will provide scenic backdrop for annual fundraiser

More than 600 people are expected to walk, run and roll their way along the Oak Bay waterfront April 14, helping raise money and awareness for the fight against multiple sclerosis.

People living with MS themselves will be among those participating in the annual Scotiabank MS Walk. Others will be taking part in support of others or to remember loved ones.

“Whether it’s for themselves, their mother, brother or friend, participants have many personal reasons to join in,” says Ashley Hodgins, manager of development, South & Central Vancouver Island Chapter of the MS Society of B.C.

Her father is among those suffering from this disease of the central nervous system.

“The energy at Willows Beach Park is exciting as people living with MS every day feel the support of their friends, family and community in the effort to find a cure.”

Participants can choose a three-kilometre, six km or nine km route, all wheelchair/scooter accessible, and dogs on leashes are welcome.

While fundraising is one of the primary goals of the annual event, it’s also an essential tool to help raise awareness of the disease and its impact on individuals and families.

Most often diagnosed in young adults from 15 to 40, MS is a chronic, often disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord that can affect vision, hearing, memory, balance and mobility. Canadians have one of the world’s highest rates of multiple sclerosis, which is also the most common neurological disease affecting young adults in Canada. Every day, three people in this country are diagnosed with the disease.

The MS Society, through such events as the annual Scotiabank MS Walk, May’s MS Awareness Month and July’s MS Bike Tour – the Cowichan Valley Grape Escape – raises money to fund research to find a cure.

Proceeds also support local programs for people affected by MS that can help them maintain their quality of life and deal with the issues related to the disease.

Initiatives include information and referral, supportive counselling, self-help and support groups, financial assistance and recreation and social programs.

To register to walk or for more information, call 250-388-6496 or visit online at mssociety.ca.

editor@vicnews.com