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Editorial - You can help make the world free of MS

Multiple sclerosis stops people from moving.

Douglas County residents can play a part to make sure it doesn't.

The National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society, Upper Midwest Chapter will hold "Walk MS: Alexandria" on Sunday, May 5.

More than 150 walkers are expected to come out and help raise nearly $22,000.

Participants in Walk MS: Alexandria, which starts and ends at Voyager Elementary School (203 County Road 44 NW), can choose a 1.7- or 3.5-mile route.

People can take part in the event individually or as a team. Check-in will take place from 10 to 11 a.m. and participants will start walking at 11 a.m.

The Echo Press is proud to be one of the many local sponsors of the walk. To register or for more information, go to the website, or call 1-800-582-5296.

Besides raising much-needed funds, MS walks also raise awareness about the disease. Here is some information from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society:

• Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. It interrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body.

• Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis.

• The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances are being made in research and treatment.

• Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men diagnosed with the disease.

• MS affects more than 2.1 million people worldwide.

• The National MS Society has made a commitment to raise $250 million for research by 2015.

The walk in Alexandria is one of 33 events throughout Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and western Wisconsin.

Dollars raised will support programs and services for more than 17,000 people with MS and their families in the Upper Midwest Chapter area and will fund cutting-edge research to stop the disease in its tracks, restore lost function and create a world free of MS.

Stop and imagine that for just a moment: A world free of MS.

It's an ambitious goal but an attainable one if it's taken a step at a time. Locally, residents can take those steps on May 5.