By: Sheryl Sowell | Category: Special Interest | Issue: March 2011
The Honorary Walk Chairman of last year’s Walk MS: Tulsa, Ron Butler, with his sisters Louise and Jeanne. Ron became a supporter of the National MS Society over 25 years ago when his oldest brother was diagnosed.
Walk MS: Tulsa returns Saturday, April 16, 2011 to benefit the National MS Society, Oklahoma. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease that interrupts the flow of information from the brain to the body and stops people from moving. The National MS Society believes that moving is not just something you can or can’t do, but rather is who you are. Walk MS events raise funds for research, as well as comprehensive programs and services for people with MS.
“When you join a Walk MS event, you become part of the powerful movement that will end MS forever,” said Brandi Davidson, regional communications manager. The three-mile Walk MS: Tulsa begins and ends at Temple Israel, 2004 E. 22nd Place. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m., and the walk is at 9 a.m.
Walk MS is a nationwide event that gives people the opportunity to come together, create awareness of MS, celebrate hope for a cure, and support those who are challenged by the disease. Walk MS encourages people to walk and raise money to create a world free of the disease. Walkers register and begin fundraising as soon as they receive a welcome packet from the Oklahoma office. Walkers are treated at rest stops with refreshments, and as they cross the finish line, they are greeted and thanked by people with MS. Festivities then continue with food and entertainment.
“The event creates a hope-filled and fun atmosphere for everyone affected by MS, while generating a greater awareness of the disease,” said Brandi. “Families are drawn closer together, coworkers are united for a greater good, and people gain a better understanding of what MS is and how close we are to achieving a world free of this disease.” Last year’s Walk MS events in nine Oklahoma communities set records with more than 4,000 participants and bringing in approximately $400,000 for the cause.
Every hour in the United States, someone is newly diagnosed with MS, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. 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 cure.
Exciting advances were made in 2010 in virtually every field of MS research. Progress toward finding new therapies for MS is illustrated by the availability of the first oral disease-modifying therapy. Progress was also made toward finding ways to restore function and improving quality of life and specific MS symptoms through exercise, meditation, rehabilitation and medications. “Our understanding of factors that influence whether a person develops MS deepened this year, bringing us closer to finding ways to prevent the symptoms of the disease,” Brandi explained.
Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with more than twice as many women as men. MS affects more than 400,000 people in the United States, and 2.5 million people worldwide. It is the number-one disabling disease among young adults in the nation.
Since its founding in 1946, the National MS Society has been the leader in the fight against MS. National MS Society, Oklahoma is one of a 50-state network of chapters and branches that represent the society, and it is headquartered in Tulsa with a branch office in Oklahoma City. The Oklahoma office provides local programs and services to more than 21,000 Oklahomans affected by MS. “We help individuals and their families with everything from financial assistance to wheelchairs, canes and informational resources,” Brandi explained. “We want people to seek the National MS Society so they can live their lives as full as possible.”
To learn more about participating in Walk MS: Tulsa, call (918) 488-0882 or visit www.nationalMSsociety.org/ok.
Sheryl Sowell was born and raised in Tulsa, OK. She graduated from Will Rogers High School and received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Northeastern State University in 2007. She has worked for Value News as editor, writer and advertising copywriter since 2008. She enjoys meeting and interviewing people for Value News articles, learning about their backgrounds, and helping to promote their businesses and local events. In her free time, she enjoys reading, trying new recipes and crafts from Pinterest, attending concerts and sporting events, and spending time with family and friends. Sheryl lives in Tulsa with her fiancé Paul, their daughter Scarlett, and their two dogs, Gunner and Boo.