SALT LAKE CITY – Thousands of people from several states gathered in downtown Salt Lake City Saturday for a walk aimed at raising funds for research into a cure for multiple sclerosis and to support local programs that help those who have been diagnosed.
The 26th annual Walk MS was Saturday morning at The Gateway, and the event was organized by the Utah-Idaho chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Participants gathered at Gateway’s Olympic Legacy Plaza, and the walk proceeded south from there. The event featured refreshments, team photos, a kids’ zone, music and various activities.
Annette Royle-Mitchell, chapter president, said the event is a chance to benefit local programs and larger research goals.
“Today we’ve got our Walk MS, which is a wonderful community event that brings everyone together to do something positive about MS,” she said. “We’re raising dollars for research to find a cure and to run programs right here in our own local community.”
Event organizers expected a large crowd, and Royle-Mitchell said the funds raised are contributing to research efforts that she said make this the most exciting time so far when it comes to finding potential solutions to MS.
“We anticipate about 3,000 people here today, and we’re expecting to raise over $250,000,” she said. “That’s really important because those funds are going directly to fund research. That’s exciting because 20 years ago, we had no disease modifying therapies when someone was diagnosed, and today, we have 12, which is just incredible.”
The event attracted participants from several nearby states. According to a press release, Multiple Sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling, disease that attacks the central nervous system. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis, and it is estimated MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide.