Where are all the big hearted walkers and runners willing to battle for the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada this year?
That’s a question being asked this week by organizers of the 2016 Lloydminster Jayman BUILT MS Walk that will take place at Bud Miller All Seasons Park on April 30.
They are alarmed by the potential impact on fundraising with just over 70 people signed up to date for the 5 km or 10 km walk/run.
“I know in the economy right now it is difficult and I realize that people are probably afraid that they can’t get pledges,” said Lacey Flichel, manager of the Lloydminster MS chapter.
Flichel is buoyed by the fact the Lloydminster walk has set participant and fundraising records year-over-year in booms and busts.
She is confident the collective support of people facing MS in the community will prevail this year despite the financial hardships many people are facing.
“Even if you are worried that you may not be able to raise a lot of funds, we’re asking that in the least, you register and attend the walk, and hopefully encourage some of your friends, co-workers or family members to join you,” she said.
“Your presence makes a difference, and gives hope to the hundreds of people in our community who are living with MS.”
Flichel said this year’s fundraising goal is $170,000 with a lower expectation of 500 participants following last year’s record turnout of 600 people.
“We’re hoping that the community will rally together to show that even though times are tough, Lloyd’s tougher,” said Flichel.
Registration for the walk is free, but participants are asked to seek pledges to support the cause. There is a $55 fee to register for either of the timed run distances with pledges optional.
“If you can’t get pledges, you can’t get pledges – it’s a fact of life right now” said Flichel, referring to the economy.
“It is what it is, but at least you can show your support by coming out to the walk and participate.”
Registration can be done online at www.mswalks.ca or by visiting or calling the local Lloydminster chapter office at 780-871-0513.
Dollars raised through the MS walk play a critical role in fueling local programs and services for families impacted by the disease and also contribute to Canadian MS research into improved treatments and the continued quest for a cure.
Flichel said there are more people in Lloydminster than you realize with MS who are affected by the daily challenges of living with an unpredictable, chronic, potentially devastating disease.
She said the impact is felt by family, friends and by the community. Its effects are physical, emotional, financial, and last a lifetime.
“They do have to go out of town to see their neurologist, so obviously that costs to go from here to Edmonton,” she said.
“We sometimes subsidized that as well.”
There are an estimated 14,000 Albertans and 3,500 Saskatchewan residents directly affected with MS. Canada has the highest rate of multiple sclerosis in the world.
MS is usually diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 40.
Symptoms can include loss of balance, impaired speech, extreme fatigue, double vision, numbness, mood changes, tremors, and paralysis.
To date, the cause is unknown and there is no cure.