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Walkers unite to help curb MS

Walkers were sent off from Voyager Elementary School on Sunday morning as more than 200 people joined the cause to help fight MS. (Photo by Eric Morken)1 / 2
A long line of walkers showed their support for multiple sclerosis research Sunday.2 / 2

The National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society Upper Midwest Chapter held its Walk MS: Alexandria event this past Sunday and more than 200 people of all ages took part.

The local walk had 150 registered walkers coming into the day. That was an increase of 35 percent from last year. More walkers showed up the day of the event to show their support by walking for a good cause.

"I am overwhelmed," Walk MS: Alexandria coordinator Sandi Domine said of the turnout. "I'm just shocked. All I wanted to do was find a nice location that is handicap accessible so that we could have a turnout like this. This surpassed my goal."

Domine and other event organizers set a goal of raising $22,000 through the walk and had already surpassed $11,000 through online and pre-walk donations. All the money raised will go to support programs and services for the more than 17,000 people with MS and their families in the Upper Midwest Chapter area. Money helps fund cutting edge research to help stop the disease, restore lost function and create a world free of MS.

Walkers had a mass sendoff at Voyager Elementary School around 11 a.m. and had the choice to walk routes of 1, 1.7 or 3.5 miles. Many pushed children in strollers or brought a team that wore T-shirts designed for a specific person for whom they were walking.

"It's fun to see how people dress up to make each of their teams unique," Domine said. "We hope that in the future this will expand and grow, and we'll have more teams that will come out and have fun."

It's a cause that is close to Domine's heart after she was diagnosed with MS in 1995. That's why it meant a lot to see so many take the time to walk in what was one of the 33 walk events throughout Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and western Wisconsin on Sunday.

"You don't know why they're walking," Domine said. "There are some people who come out just to support a cause. To have them choose this cause is amazing. Anytime somebody supports any kind of cause is awesome because they all help each other. When they specifically choose this, it is pretty touching."

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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