Saturday May 7, 2011



Steps In The Right Direction

Scotiabank MS Walk folks raise their feet for funds

Staff/Voice photos


ay is MS Awareness month. Multiple sclerosis is a complex disease of the central nervous system affecting the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. There is no cure and people living with MS face a daily struggle affecting not only themselves but also their families and caregivers.

Each year a group of kindred-spirited people join up for the Scotiabank MS Walk in Chilliwack. This year the walk took place Strathcona Elementary School and about 100 people showed up to take part in the event which included dancers, bag pipe players and a lot of happy faces.

"I'm really happy. We've got tons of people turned out, we've had lots of people show up today to register which is fantastic. It's a gorgeous day and we couldn't look for anything better. Everybody's happy, and I'm just looking forward to our final totals and hopefully we've got some good numbers for this year.

Dianna McIntyre, fundraising event and coordinator with the MS Society, was managing the Abbotsford walk in 2010 and this is her first year in Chilliwack.

"It's all new this year. We've got a new route, we've got a new location and we've got lots of new teams which is really exciting and we've got some fantastic volunteers that have come out from G.W. Graham as well."

98.3 Star Fm morning show hosts, Scott Riley and Lisa Stevens emceed the event and livened up the festivities with their unique form of brevity as only they can do.

Stevens told those at the walk that Canada has one of the highest rates of MS in the world.

"An estimated 55-75,000 Canadians have MS and between 7-10,000 of those live in British Columbia and Yukon so its easy to see why there's so many people committed to the cause."

Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz was there in support of the Society and said that the disease is most common in Canada.

"They say that 3 people every day are diagnosed with MS in Canada and I thnk that is something all of you here want to see ended. I thank each one of you because some of you come here because you have friends afflicted with MS, some of you have MS," said Gaetz.

"Last year it was just so encouraging to come out and hear the story of people who have actually been able to get the disease under control and participate in life in a way that they never believed was possible.

Gaetz said a woman who took part in the walk last year had gone from a wheelchair to a runner.

"I think it's amazing. It gives us all great hope and it gives those who have MS, struggle with MS and can't see an end to it, that there is great hope in the future, so to each one of you that went out there to get pledges, each one of you that picked up your phones, posted it on Facebook, made sure that all your relatives made sure that you were doing this, good on you, God bless you, keep safe and have a really good run and walk."

Gaetz told The Voice she was looking forward to the walk despite having walked 5km earlier as part of her usual morning routine.

"I'm thrilled to be here, it's really good to see this," she said.

Diane Janzen, ex-city Councillor found the time from her busy federal election campaign to take part in the walk as well.

Supporters had a choice of a 5km or 10km route circling Fairfield Island

One of the teams participating were the Weitzal family representing the Chilliwack Dogwood Monarch Lions Club along with their kids who together with the help of the Club, raised approximately $1000.

"Bob and I belong to the Lions Club, and these are our kids and their buddies," said Nico Weitzal, standing next to her wheelchair-bound husband.

Team Melinda raised almost $8500 from bake sales and auction items throughout the year.

Photographer Kim Mallory took team photos and the Rotary Train was circling the parking lot with smiling kids aboard.

On Saturday May 14, Mr. Lube will donate $5 from every oil change across Canada as part of the company's annual MS Awareness Day.

At the time of this writing, The Voice had still not received word from the MS Society regarding walk totals.

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More photos below.

Copyright (c) 2011 The Valley Voice


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