More than 240 people came together to raise awareness and money and to support each other during the Walk for MS in Red Deer. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff

Central Albertans come together to end MS

Red Deer’s Bre Fitzpatrick has MS.

The medication the 34-year-old is on didn’t exist about 15 years ago.

“The fact that somebody else thought about this a long time ago allows me to enjoy the life I do today. So I feel it’s important for me to do the same for someone looking ahead,” she said Sunday at the annual Jayman BUILT MS Walk in Red Deer, along with her mom, dad, brother and husband.

“I think with anyone that has anybody that lives with MS, we all want a cure for it. It’s one of those things that can just come on so quickly, even for very normal, healthy people,” said Bre’s mom, Donna.

The annual event kicked off with more than 240 people at 9 a.m. at Great Chief Park. It raises money and awareness to support MS research, advocacy, programs and services in accordance with the MS Society of Canada’s mission statement.

Symptoms for the disease that affects the central nervous system vary from person-to-person. Some have mobility issues, fatigue, vision problems, impaired speech and loss of movement.

For Fitzpatrick, it’s usually movement.

Red Deer resident Nancy Alexander knows about some of the symptoms because a dozen of her friends have the disease. To show her support, she attends the walk every year.

“This is my eighth year,” she said Sunday, adding she comes every year to show her friends she is there for them.

The goal of the Red Deer walk this year is to raise about $85,000. Central Alberta MS Society chapter’s manager Tara Maloney said the goal is higher than last year’s about $70,000.

“We like to set goals – of course we like to be realistic – we’re always hoping we do better each year.”

By Sunday morning, more than 56 per cent of the goal was met raising about $53,000. Maloney said the money comes in even following the walk.

Over 77,000 Canadians live with MS – that’s about 1 in every 385 Canadians with the condition. Women are three times more likely to be diagnosed with MS than men.

On average, 11 Canadians are diagnosed with MS every day.

About 60 per cent of those diagnosed in Canada are between 20 to 49.

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