Around 60 people walked the Courtenay Airpark walkway Sunday, raising nearly $12,000 for the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada and local initiatives.
Though it did not reach its fundraising goal of $22,000, the beautiful weather and the higher than expected turnout were huge positives.
Tanya McDonald, media spokesperson and event organizer, has been volunteering with the MS Walk for 16 years. In February of 2004, she was diagnosed with MS and knows the importance of fundraising events like this.
“Whether it’s physiotherapy or equipment or whether it’s just paying for meeting spaces so that [our support group] can get together, the funds raised mean a lot,” she said, adding that a portion of the funds raised are used locally, while the rest is used for research.
Canada has one of the highest rates of MS in the world with around 77,000 people living with the disease. Women are three times more likely to be diagnosed with MS and the majority of people with the disease are between 20 and 49 years old.
When McDonald was diagnosed in 2004, she said there were only three medications available and they each had to be injected. Now, thanks to research efforts, those diagnosed with MS have many more options including pills and IV treatments.
Throughout her journey with MS, McDonald has been attending local support groups and says they are what got her through the toughest times in her diagnosis.
“It was the only outing I made sure I could go to and I knew I was in a safe place, a supported place to be able to ask the questions I didn’t know answers to and just be welcomed even though I couldn’t talk very well or I couldn’t move very well.”
McDonald’s support group meets the second Thursday of every month. For more information, contact McDonald at 250-338-0448.
For more information on the MS Society of Canada or to donate, visit https://bit.ly/2EC1WKd