By RICK HAYES email@example.com
---- — MT. VERNON — Denise Gaither knows the pain from dealing with multiple sclerosis. Gaither has been a victim of the disease for the past 23 years. As the coordinator of the annual M.S. Walk, her goal is to raise awareness of the disease.
For the 10th consecutive year, Gaither will lead the group of walkers Sept. 7 at Veterans Memorial Park. Walkers will congregate at the west shelter house for registration at 10 a.m. The walk will start at 11 a.m.
"We just want to remind people that this event is coming up. We're trying to get walkers and raise awareness for M.S.," Gaither said. "All the funds we receive go to the M.S. Society to help people with equipment and for research."
About 100 walkers participated in last year's event.
"Hopefully this year there will be more. Every year I hope to have more people involved to raise awareness for M.S.," Gaither said.
Walkers can pre-register by visiting gatewayMSwalk.org or calling 1-800-344-4867, or by registering on the day of the walk.
Additionally, the local group will host a softball tournament Aug. 3 at Chapman Sports Complex in Woodlawn.
"It's just a lot of fun. We have concessions and face-painting for the kids. All of the funds will go to the M.S. Society," Gaither said.
The six-team double-elimination tournament will start at 9 a.m. and conclude around mid-afternoon. Last year, the group raised about $1,500 from the event.
According to the national MS Society web site, multiple sclerosis is a disease which attacks the central nervous system. It can cause numbness, blindness and paralysis in several cases. More than 2.5 million people worldwide live with the disease and more than 200 more are diagnosed with MS each week. Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50 and MS is more common in women.
More information about MS is available by visiting their web site at www.nationalmssociety.org.