2022 Walk MS steps off with in-person fundraiser at Boardwalk Park in Windsor – Greeley Tribune

Jeanne Nott of Loveland joined nearly 500 others on Saturday for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s 2022 Walk MS at Boardwalk Park in Windsor.

As Ms. Colorado Senior, Nott awarded $500 to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. She joined in Saturday’s walk in support of her brother, Bill, who has MS and uses a wheelchair. Nott wanted to support her brother’s strength and courage in fighting the disease.

“Bill is very talented and played several instruments and had a band called ‘Park Avenue’ named after the street where we grew up. Bill played professionally all over New Jersey and the Philadelphia area,” Nott said. “Around 2000, Bill started falling and found it difficult to walk. Still, he continued to perform, in addition to unloading and loading heavy musical equipment. He went to several doctors and had MRIs and scans. It was years later that he was diagnosed with MS. He was in his mid-40s when he started treatments.

“He is doing well and hasn’t lost his sense of humor and I just love him dearly.”

Colorado has a high instance of MS, said Theo Frankovich, senior manager for Walk MS.

“We don’t know exactly why but people do move away from humidity to come here. It’s not as hot here and with MS, the heat affects you dramatically,” Moore explained. “So people moved to the dryer climate and less hot.”

WINDSOR, CO – MAY 14: Participants walk during the Walk MS: Windsor 2022 walk benefiting research into multiple sclerosis at Boardwalk Park at Windsor Lake in Windsor May 14, 2022. The local chapter of the National MS Society has raised more than $110,000 so far this year. (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer)

Multiple sclerosis is a disease that impacts the brain and spinal cord. While the exact cause of MS is unknown, experts believe something causes the body’s immune system to attack the brain and spinal cord, damaging the myelin — the protective sheath that surrounds nerve fibers — and causing disruption in the signals to and from the brain.

This interruption of the communication signals can symptoms such as numbness, tingling, mood changes, memory problems, pain, fatigue, blindness and paralysis.

“The common age is 20-50 years old, and it affects more women than men,” Moore said. “It’s definitely a young persons’ disease in a sense.”

While there is no cure for MS, there are medications and treatments that help patients manage the disease.

WINDSOR, CO - MAY 14: Walk organizers snap a selfie with the front of the group before the walk starts during the Walk MS: Windsor 2022 walk benefiting research into multiple sclerosis at Boardwalk Park at Windsor Lake in Windsor May 14, 2022. The local chapter of the National MS Society has raised more than $110,000 so far this year.  (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer)WINDSOR, CO – MAY 14: Walk organizers snap a selfie with the front of the group before the walk starts during the Walk MS: Windsor 2022 walk benefiting research into multiple sclerosis at Boardwalk Park at Windsor Lake in Windsor May 14, 2022. The local chapter of the National MS Society has raised more than $110,000 so far this year. (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer)

After being put on hold for a couple of years due to COVID, organizers for Saturday’s event were ecstatic to host the fundraiser in person. It was the 33rd year for the walk to take place in Windsor.

“We do seven walks across the state and this is one of seven,” said Robyn Moore, president of the Colorado and Wyoming chapters. “Money raised goes to where we need it, but a lot of it stays here. We have a budget here, so it goes toward our budget in Colorado. We raised over $4 million, even post-pandemic, in our Colorado-Wyoming chapter.”

Participants of all ages dressed in orange tutus and feather boas, dogs donned orange bow ties or bandanas, and family and friends wore signs on their backs with the names of the people they walked for. Together, they lined up at the starting line to complete either the 1-mile or 2.3-mile walk around Lake Windsor.

Husband-and-wife team Ken McDowell and Korie McDowell have made the trip from Sterling for 14 years to attend the walk.

“I have MS, and I think it’s really important that we pay it forward. We walk so that somebody else doesn’t have MS. We walk so somebody else can run,” Korie said. “It’s a fun thing, everybody is wonderful and it’s a beautiful place.”

WINDSOR, CO - MAY 14:Participants mingle as sponsor presentations are made during the Walk MS: Windsor 2022 walk benefiting research into multiple sclerosis at Boardwalk Park at Windsor Lake in Windsor May 14, 2022. The local chapter of the National MS Society has raised more than $110,000 so far this year.  (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer)WINDSOR, CO – MAY 14:Participants mingle as sponsor presentations are made during the Walk MS: Windsor 2022 walk benefiting research into multiple sclerosis at Boardwalk Park at Windsor Lake in Windsor May 14, 2022. The local chapter of the National MS Society has raised more than $110,000 so far this year. (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer)

In addition to bringing fellow MS patients together, the walk allows caregivers to come together for support and fellowship.

“We tell people back home in Sterling that we have MS, but they don’t really understand,” Ken said. “Here, we can talk to so many people and they understand.”

“People don’t understand how hard a caregiver’s job is,” Korie McDowell added.

The top team at the walk raised $21,100 while the top individual raised $20,610 for the organization.

Over the past few years, several celebrities diagnosed with MS have come forward to help raise awareness of the disease.

WINDSOR, CO - MAY 14:Participants get ready to walk during the Walk MS: Windsor 2022 walk benefiting research into multiple sclerosis at Boardwalk Park at Windsor Lake in Windsor May 14, 2022. The local chapter of the National MS Society has raised more than $110,000 so far this year.  (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer)WINDSOR, CO – MAY 14:Participants get ready to walk during the Walk MS: Windsor 2022 walk benefiting research into multiple sclerosis at Boardwalk Park at Windsor Lake in Windsor May 14, 2022. The local chapter of the National MS Society has raised more than $110,000 so far this year. (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer)

Actress Christina Applegate announced on Twitter that she had been diagnosed with MS in 2021. Fellow actress Selma Blair was diagnosed with MS in 2018 and had undergone chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant to help her manage the disease.

NASCAR driver and Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne, country music singer Hal Ketchum, actress Teri Garr and Ann Romney, wife of former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, have all been diagnosed with MS.

ECI Construction, High Country Beverage, UCHealth, Biogen and the Greeley Stampede were among the sponsors for Saturday’s walk.

Three other walks are planned through early next month:

  • 8 on Saturday, May 21 in Boulder
  • 8 on Saturday, May 21 in Colorado Springs
  • 8 on Saturday, June 4 in Cheyenne

Two biking events are also coming up:

  • The Bike MS: Colorado 2022 is June 25-26 in Westminster. The two-day ride will take participants through towns along the Front Range and the countryside, bordering foothills and providing scenic mountain views.
  • The Bike MS: Bighorn Country Classic 2022, will take place Aug. 13-14 in Sheridan, Wyoming, with a route that will take riders through historic towns of the old West, a modern college campus and rolling grasslands.
  • WINDSOR, CO - MAY 14:Participants walk during the Walk MS:...

    WINDSOR, CO – MAY 14:Participants walk during the Walk MS: Windsor 2022 walk benefiting research into multiple sclerosis at Boardwalk Park at Windsor Lake in Windsor May 14, 2022. The local chapter of the National MS Society has raised more than $110,000 so far this year. (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer)

  • WINDSOR, CO - MAY 14:Participants walk during the Walk MS:...

    WINDSOR, CO – MAY 14:Participants walk during the Walk MS: Windsor 2022 walk benefiting research into multiple sclerosis at Boardwalk Park at Windsor Lake in Windsor May 14, 2022. The local chapter of the National MS Society has raised more than $110,000 so far this year. (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer)

  • WINDSOR, CO - MAY 14:Participants walk during the Walk MS:...

    WINDSOR, CO – MAY 14:Participants walk during the Walk MS: Windsor 2022 walk benefiting research into multiple sclerosis at Boardwalk Park at Windsor Lake in Windsor May 14, 2022. The local chapter of the National MS Society has raised more than $110,000 so far this year. (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer)

  • WINDSOR, CO - MAY 14:Participants walk during the Walk MS:...

    WINDSOR, CO – MAY 14:Participants walk during the Walk MS: Windsor 2022 walk benefiting research into multiple sclerosis at Boardwalk Park at Windsor Lake in Windsor May 14, 2022. The local chapter of the National MS Society has raised more than $110,000 so far this year. (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer)

  • WINDSOR, CO - MAY 14:Participants walk during the Walk MS:...

    WINDSOR, CO – MAY 14:Participants walk during the Walk MS: Windsor 2022 walk benefiting research into multiple sclerosis at Boardwalk Park at Windsor Lake in Windsor May 14, 2022. The local chapter of the National MS Society has raised more than $110,000 so far this year. (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer)

  • WINDSOR, CO - MAY 14:Participants walk during the Walk MS:...

    WINDSOR, CO – MAY 14:Participants walk during the Walk MS: Windsor 2022 walk benefiting research into multiple sclerosis at Boardwalk Park at Windsor Lake in Windsor May 14, 2022. The local chapter of the National MS Society has raised more than $110,000 so far this year. (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer)

  • WINDSOR, CO - MAY 14:Participants get ready to walk during...

    WINDSOR, CO – MAY 14:Participants get ready to walk during the Walk MS: Windsor 2022 walk benefiting research into multiple sclerosis at Boardwalk Park at Windsor Lake in Windsor May 14, 2022. The local chapter of the National MS Society has raised more than $110,000 so far this year. (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer)

  • WINDSOR, CO - MAY 14:Participants walk during the Walk MS:...

    WINDSOR, CO – MAY 14:Participants walk during the Walk MS: Windsor 2022 walk benefiting research into multiple sclerosis at Boardwalk Park at Windsor Lake in Windsor May 14, 2022. The local chapter of the National MS Society has raised more than $110,000 so far this year. (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer)

  • WINDSOR, CO - MAY 14:Participants mingle as sponsor presentations are...

    WINDSOR, CO – MAY 14:Participants mingle as sponsor presentations are made during the Walk MS: Windsor 2022 walk benefiting research into multiple sclerosis at Boardwalk Park at Windsor Lake in Windsor May 14, 2022. The local chapter of the National MS Society has raised more than $110,000 so far this year. (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer)

  • WINDSOR, CO - MAY 14:Walk organizers snap a selfie with...

    WINDSOR, CO – MAY 14: Walk organizers snap a selfie with the front of the group before the walk starts during the Walk MS: Windsor 2022 walk benefiting research into multiple sclerosis at Boardwalk Park at Windsor Lake in Windsor May 14, 2022. The local chapter of the National MS Society has raised more than $110,000 so far this year. (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer)

The organization has community leadership councils across the nation that pairs MS patients with navigators and helps to raise awareness of MS research, treatments and education.

“We have about 10 members right now, and we are trying to grow,” Moore said. “It’s all about our presence. We do tabling events at health fairs. We do all sorts of things so people know we are here for them and we can guide them to a navigator.”

For more information on multiple sclerosis resources, facts and research, to register for a walk or biking event, or to make a donation to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, go to www.nationalmssociety.org.

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