ST. GEORGE – Some 200-300 people are expected to come out in support of this year’s Walk MS Southern Utah, which will be held Saturday starting at Tonaquint Park on Dixie Drive and 600 West in St. George, in an effort to raise funds for research for a cure for multiple sclerosis – and to bring people together who both suffer with or have friends or loved ones who suffer with MS.
Multiple sclerosis is defined as a chronic but unpredictable disease of the central nervous system. It interrupts the flow of information within the brain, between the brain and the body, often making it difficult for people to move.
MS affects each person differently, and even affects the same person differently on any given day. Diagnosis is often very difficult due to the multifaceted symptoms of the disease.
Marc Stallings is the c0-coordinator for this year’s Walk MS Southern Utah and understands firsthand what living with multiple sclerosis looks like. His stepmother was diagnosed with the disease in 1992.
“Linda has been living with MS for 22 years,” Marc Stallings said, “she’s primarily in a mobility scooter now.”
“MS affects each family differently depending on the progress and the severity of the disease,” Marc Stallings said. “The entire family must adapt to learning and understanding the limitations MS can cause. Younger children are especially affected.”
Before MS struck Linda Stallings, she and Marc Stallings’ dad traveled in their motor home from Canada to Mexico and everywhere in between. After her diagnosis, MS started to slow Linda Stallings down. But, it was her attitude that made the difference.
“Her motto is ‘MS can’t keep me down,’” Mark Stallings said of his stepmother. “She is such an inspiration to us.”
That inspiration has reached much farther than Linda Stallings’ immediate family, as she has shared with, mentored and been an example for many, many other people living with multiple sclerosis.
Saturday’s event is being held to raise money for critical research. Marc Stallings hopes to raise at least $10,000 for the MS Society – 82 cents of every dollars supports research as well as services for people affected by MS, he said.
“Every 50 minutes someone in the U.S. is diagnosed with MS,” Marc Stallings said.
There is presently no cure for MS, and the disease affects 1-in-300 people in Utah alone. Women are two times more likely to be diagnosed with MS than men.
Besides raising money for research, Marc Stallings hopes to raise community awareness.
“The more people who are educated about MS and get involved in events such as Saturday’s walk, the better we can raise funds to find a cure,” he said.
Walk MS – Saturday
The Walk MS Utah on Saturday will begin at Tonaquint Park on Dixie Drive and 600 West in St. George. Registration starts at 8 a.m. with team photos and kids activities, followed by a short program at 9:30 a.m., and the walk at 10 a.m.
Participants can choose to walk a 3-mile route, with a rest stop hosted by Harmon’s Grocery Store, or they can walk the 1-mile route.
Those interested in walking can sign up online at walkMSutah or call 800-Fight-MS. Registration is free and fundraising is encouraged.
“I look forward to seeing everyone on Saturday,” Marc Stallings said. “Come out and walk or volunteer to pass out water and snacks to the walkers. Participate. Volunteer. Make a donation,”
Donations can also be made through walkMSutah.
A D V E R T O R I A L
- Walk MS Utah Facebook | Register for Southern Utan March 22 walk here or just show up at 8 a.m. | Walk MS website
- National MS Society
- Battling MS, local triathlete competes in Ironman World Championship, Kona; streaming live Saturday
- Dixie Regional expands with Fairy Garden, Neurosciences; STGnews Photo Gallery
- On the EDge: Remembering two iconic women
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