Despite concerns about how the economic conditions would affect participation, the MS Society of Canada’s Lloydminster chapter is celebrating a record turnout for Saturday’s Jayman Built MS Walk.
“One shouldn’t be surprised given how every year this community seems to step up when we put out the call,” said an excited Johanna Green, the MS Society’s Lakeland regional director. “Just tremendously pleased with the turnout and it speaks volumes about this community’s determination to the fight to end MS.”
This year’s walk was attended by 591 people, up nearly 100 from last year. Preliminary recordings have pegged revenues raised at $135,000, although that number should rise as more people turn in their funds. Last year’s MS Walk produced $200,000 of money raised.
On a record day, several moments from the walk left a shining impression, even as the clouds kept the sun a secret. One of them involved a woman living with MS that spoke to a packed crowd during the opening ceremonies about what it’s like living with the disease and how the MS Society has supported her and her family.
“She was in costume and I think it really embodies the spirit of what the event is all about. She was so nervous, yet so excited to officially send participants off on the walk,” said Green. “Just having her stand up there and speak is an indicator of the courage that people with MS demonstrate every day when they get up and get out of bed and live their lives despite the terrible impacts the disease can have on a person.”
Another signature moment involved a young participant named Nicholas Fowler, who told Green that he raised over $7,000 for the walk in honour of a friend living with MS.
“His slogan this year was ‘Rock the Walk’ and he was dressed as a little Elvis,” said Green.
“It was pretty moving to see someone so young, yet so dedicated to making a difference.”
Other participants in the May 2 walk included members of the RCMP, firefighters, Mayor Rob Saunders and city Coun. Jason Whiting.