MS walk takes first step

By Geoff Lee

February 7, 2018 1:19 PM

MS Knowledge Network navigator, Valerie Borggard, left, holds the microphone for Patty Milnthorp, manager of the Lloydminster chapter of the MS Society of Canada who spearheaded a corporate breakfast at the Lloydminster Golf & Curling Centre on Feb. 1 to kickoff fundraising for the 20th anniversary Lloydminster Jayman BUILT MS Walk, to be held May 5. GEOFF LEE LLS PHOTO

Step up to end Multiple Sclerosis.
That was the message the Lloydminster chapter of the MS Society of Canada delivered to kick off fundraising for this year’s Jayman BUILT MS walk on May 5.
Organizers held a corporate breakfast at the Lloydminster Golf and Curling Centre sponsored by Canadian Western Bank on Feb. 1 to seek support for the 20th anniversary of the Lloydminster walk at Bud Miller All Seasons Park.
“We’ve invited people who have walk teams, people that are living with MS, our board members and people in the community who might be interested in starting up a walk team or sponsoring,” said Patty Milnthorp, manager of the Lloydminster MS chapter.
This year’s goal is to raise $120,000 by increasing the number of participants to 400, including more team members as well.
“I am hoping we can do better than last year,” said Milnthorp, when 346 people including 32 teams raised $118,000.
This year’s field will include another corporate team or two from Integra Engineering that will host their annual pancake breakfast MS fundraiser on site on May 1.
Company rep Sherri Stephens told the audience the event gets bigger and better every year with staff from Balon Valves also pitching in to do all the cooking with gluten-free flapjacks on the menu.
Other ways companies or individuals can step up to end MS include registering a team of friends or family members, pledging a walk volunteer, volunteering at an event, or making a donation. 
“We have many events planned closer to the date,” said Milnthorp.
She said the local MS chapter funds a range of local programs and services for those with MS from support groups and socials and clinics to mobility equipment such as scooters and braces and educational and wellness classes.
Nationally, funds go toward researching cures for all types of MS and for developing disease modifying therapies.
Alberta has one of the highest rates of MS in the world.
Lloydminster resident Janelle Hutchinson, who has been living with MS since 2009, has her fingers crossed that more people will sign up for the walk this year.
“I would love for them to come out and raise some money so that we can all find a cure so that no one else has to live with this any longer,” she said.
Hutchinson likens MS to having a mouse in your brain chewing through your electrical connections that control your whole body.
“Once your brain is attacked, messages can’t get from point A to point B,” she said.
“That will affect a certain part of your body like your vision—some people can’t walk anyone—some people can’t talk.”
Hutchinson said she has had memory and balance issues among her many symptoms.
Despite that, she plans to complete the walk herself this year as she has the previous three years, including one time when she ran it, to inspire others to support the cause in advance of World MS Day on May 30.
She said 60 per cent of the money raised from the walk goes to research, and the 40 per cent goes to programs and services for people like her with MS.
More information about the disease and available support is now accessible 24/7 via the MS Knowledge Network.
That’s the MS Society of Canada’s hub of knowledge with online navigators such as Valerie Borggard based in Edmonton, providing consistent, quality MS information and support for anyone in Canada.
“The network provides everyone with equal access to MS information, information or research, helping them to navigate their systems in their community so they can get everything they need,” said Borggard.
“It’s kind of all encompassing.”

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