Ocean City Today

Annual Multiple Sclerosis Walk in OC, Sat.

Event raises money to help eradicate disease affecting 2 million people worldwide
By Kara Hallissey | Apr 20, 2017

(April 21, 2017) The 22nd annual Multiple Sclerosis Walk, taking place at Jolly Roger Amusement Park and on the Ocean City Boardwalk Saturday morning, raises money to help eradicate a debilitating disease affecting 2.3 million people worldwide.

“Walk MS is one of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s largest fundraising events and the funds raised are critical to our mission of creating a world free of MS,” said Whitney Pogwist, manager of the Walk MS DC-Maryland Chapter. “Walk MS in Ocean City connects those in the community with MS. It is a chance to bond with family, friends and co-workers to create awareness, and share your personal story.”

Registration is free and opens at 8 a.m. on Saturday for participants who did not sign up in advance. The opening ceremonies will start at 8:45 a.m.

As of Monday, 34 teams had signed up and organizers expect at least 350 people at this year’s event. In 2016, 39 teams and 400 people participated in Ocean City.

The walk will begin at 9 a.m. at Jolly Roger Amusement Park on 30th Street. Walkers will head down to the Boardwalk on 27th Street before choosing a route. Participants can take the one-mile walk to 25th Street, turn around and head back to the amusement park or choose the 5-mile, which continues to Ninth Street and back.

The University of Maryland Eastern Shore cheerleading squad will perform and cheer on the walkers.

Breakfast will be provided by Uptown Baker and water, snacks and juice from Wegman’s.

Fishers Popcorn, taffy from Candy Kitchen, Herr’s chips and Chick-fil-A chicken breakfast minis will all be available.

In addition, Jolly Roger Amusement Park is partnering with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to help raise funds with discount Passport to Fun passes.

“Passes will be sold at the walk site to participants and anyone in the community,” Pogwist said. “A tent will be clearly marked to purchase passes.”

The passes will include two hours at Speedworld and one-day of unlimited golf for $30, which saves buyers $23.49.

Jolly Roger Amusement Park will donate $15 to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society for each pass sold.

“Those purchasing tickets do not have to attend the walk to purchase fun passes,” Pogwist said. “The fun passes can be used up until Labor Day. You can use both tickets the same day or on different days.”

Those living with multiple sclerosis will receive a Walk MS T-shirt. To earn a T-shirt, participants must raise $125. 

The MS Walk in Ocean City raised $71,212 in 2016. The goal is to bring in $75,000 this year.

With no registration fee, the event generates funds from participants and personal donations to the organization. The Ocean City Walk has raised more than $1 million since its inception 22 years ago.

“We are passionate about ending MS forever,” Pogwist said. “We walk to create awareness, we walk to move research forward by relentlessly pursuing prevention, treatment and a cure. We are moving to mobilize the millions of people who want to do something about MS now.”

The Ocean City Police Department is advising citizens to expect traffic delays during the event and a traffic detail will be set up to assist.

Motorists should expect minor traffic delays near 30th Street. Participants and spectators are asked to use crosswalks.

Walk MS will also take place at the Salisbury Town Center on Sunday, April 23, beginning at 8 a.m. with registration. The 5K and 1-mile routes kick off at 9 a.m.

According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the disease is not contagious and is not directly inherited, and most people with MS have a normal or near-normal life expectancy. The majority of people with MS do not become severely disabled, but the disease can cause blurred vision, loss of balance, poor coordination, slurred speech, tremors, numbness, extreme fatigue, problems with memory and concentration, paralysis and blindness.

Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, although individuals as young as 2 and as old as 75 have developed it. At least two to three times more women are diagnosed with the disease than men.  

Worldwide, MS affects about 2.3 million people. There is no cure for the disease, but there are FDA-approved medications that have been shown to “modify” or slow down the underlying course of MS.

“Every dollar we raise, we are that much closer,” Pogwist said. “Together we will end MS forever.”

For more information about MS or to register for the walk, visit www.walkms.org, call 800-FIGHT-MS or email whitney.pogwist@nmss.org.

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