There is still time to participate in the 2017 Walk MS: Westminster event scheduled for Saturday, April 22. In fact, there will be time up until 9 a.m. Saturday, when the walk begins.
"We are not going to turn people away if they want to walk for us and raise money for us," said Katie Boothroyd, director of internal communications for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. "We're excited to have them."
Of course, you can also sign up in advance online, and for free, according to Samantha Wolfe, fundraising and event manager for the Westminster walk. People are encouraged to come out and participate whether or not they will be donating, although people can donate in person or online.
"You can walk and not donate, you can donate and not walk, you can walk and donate — it's tailored for anyone to partake in any way they feel comfortable," Wolfe said. "That extends to both a 3- and 1-mile walking loop for those that do choose to walk."
Day-of registration will begin at 8 a.m. Wolfe said, as breakfast is served and a DJ plays music; the walk itself will begin at 9 a.m. After the walk, snacks and more music will be offered.
In 2016, the Westminster event brought out 398 walkers and raised $47,902.06, money that Boothroyd said goes primarily toward research for a cure for multiple sclerosis, or MS.
"All of the fundraising dollars we raise go toward research for a cure and support services for people who have MS," she said. "Just last month, the first drug ever to treat primary progressive MS was released, which is extraordinary."
The drug, known as Ocrevus, is a now FDA-approved treatment given by infusion and shown to slow the progression of MS — a disease characterized by the body's own immune system attacking nerve cells, interrupting their ability to communicate and causing progressive symptoms including weakness, tremor and even blindness or paralysis.
But Ocrevus is not a cure, not yet, and until the day research can find one, Wolfe said, Walk MS events provide a way to raise awareness, raise funds and to show support for those who are living with MS.
"It's great for those who are not familiar with MS to go out and learn about it," she said. "For those that are, if they have it or a loved one has it, this is a system of support for them."
If you go
What: 2017 Walk MS: Westminster
When: Registration begins at 8 a.m., the walk at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 22
Where: Carroll Community College, 1601 Washington Road, Westminster
Cost: No cost to walk, but donations to aid research for a cure to multiple sclerosis welcome.
To learn more about the walk or to register, visit main.nationalmssociety.org/site/TR/Walk/MDMWalkEvents?pg=entry&fr_id=28670 or simply show up at 8 a.m. Saturday. For more information about MS, or walks and fundraising events, go to www.nmss.org.