WILLIAMSPORT -- On Saturday, May 4, 2019 more than 200 walkers and volunteers gathered at Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Field House to kick off Williamsport’s annual Walk MS.
After brief opening remarks from the National MS Society and ribbon-cutting ceremonies, 17 teams as well as many individual walkers set off at 11 a.m., trekking along designated one-mile or three-mile campus routes while enjoying the spring weather before rains arrived later in the day.
To date, Williamsport Walk MS 2019 event participants have raised about $15,000 towards groundbreaking MS research and life-changing support services for those living with MS. Fundraising will continue through June 29, 2019.
“Walk MS is all about community—people coming together to raise money and show support for loved ones, colleagues and friends living with MS,” said National MS Society staff member and regional Walk MS Specialist, Julie Rothrauff.
“Both the MS Society and the Walk MS itself depend heavily upon volunteers for success,” Rothrauff added.
In early 2018, about a dozen local volunteers formed the Williamsport MS Community Council with a three-part mission to: 1.) help people in Lycoming County affected by MS live their best lives, 2.) raise community awareness year-round about MS, and 3.) end MS forever through fundraising that supports research towards a cure. Organizing Williamsport’s Annual Walk MS is one of the Council’s main projects towards fulfilling these goals. Beginning in January, the Council meets at least monthly, planning the walk routes, recruiting teams and sponsors, organizing raffles and generally promoting Walk MS throughout the community.
“Lycoming County is full of big hearts and extraordinary generosity,” noted Council Chair Laura Templeton. “That’s really how we’re able to pull off such a great event.“
More than three dozen local businesses (listed here in alphabetical order) supported Williamsport’s Walk MS 2019 through employee teams, sponsorships, or the donation of goods and services:
• Buffalo Wild Wings
• Chef Hosch & Ann Catering, Inc.
• DMK Media
• Dunkin’ Donuts
• Giant Food Stores
• Gustonian Gifts
• Horizon Federal Credit Union
• Hoss’s Steak & Seafood House
• It’s My Party Store
• Jennifer Engel Designs
• Kellogg Company
• Lamar Advertising
• Long Island Pizza
• Montour Beverage
• Moon and Raven
• Olive Garden
• Pennsylvania College of Technology
• Pepsi Bottling Group
• Rosemary’s Thyme Floral Design
• Sammy’s Restaurant
• Sauers Trading
• The Stonehouse
• Ultimate Express Car Wash
• Unique Industries, Inc.
• UPMC Health Plan
• UPMC Susquehanna
• UTZ Quality Foods, Inc.
• WBZD – OldieZ 93 (Backyard Broadcasting)
• Webb Weekly
• Willard’s Saddlery
About Walk MS
In 2019 Walk MS will occur at approximately 400 walk sites, and the MS Society anticipates at least 300,000 participants and volunteers. For 2019, Novartis and Sanofi Genzyme are the premier national sponsors of Walk MS. Biogen, Celgene, EMD Serono and Genentech are national sponsors.
Since its inception in 1988, Walk MS has cumulatively raised more than $1 billion. Each dollar raised is one step closer to the National MS Society’s goal – a world free of MS. Last year alone, the National MS Society invested $40 million to support research projects, fellowships for medical and research staff, and other special initiatives.
Funds raised through Walk MS also directly impact each local community through services such as the MS Navigator program. MS Navigators are highly skilled, compassionate professionals available to connect each person affected by MS to a wide range of beneficial information and resources to live their best lives. Each year, more than 180,000 people in the U.S. receive assistance from an MS Navigator, and millions rely on the
National MS Society website and online resources for accurate and up-to-date information about MS.
About Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling, to mood changes and memory problems, pain and fatigue, 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 leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS.
Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS is the most common neurological disease leading to disability in young adults. MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide.
A new study published in February 2019 by the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology has confirmed that nearly 1 million people in the U.S. are living with MS. Approximately 16,000 people in the Pennsylvania Keystone Region, including an estimated 400 or more in Lycoming County, are affected by MS and await a cure.
For more information about multiple sclerosis and the National MS Society, go to nationalMSsociety.org or call 800-344-4867.