Carlsbad CA– More than 200 people will gather at the Flower Fields on Friday morning, Sept. 5, to begin a 50-mile, three-day walk along San Diego’s coastline from Carlsbad to Downtown San Diego for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s 2014 Southern California Challenge Walk. The fundraiser for MS research will end around noontime on Sunday, Sept. 7 in Downtown San Diego.
About 80 walkers this year will be people who have diagnosed with MS, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that interrupts the flow of information within the brain and between the brain and body.
“The Challenge Walk is a journey of a lifetime, a celebration of the human spirit, which will ultimately shorten the road to a cure for MS,” said Rich Israel, president of the National MS Society’s San Diego-based Pacific South Coast Chapter. “It’s not so much about being athletic or physical endurance. But, rather, the Challenge Walk is about showing compassion and reaffirming a commitment to end the devastating effects of MS. There are always lots of tears not only from the blisters but also the memories of loved ones who are living with MS or have died from it.”
Now in its 13th year, the Challenge Walk has a goal of raising $850,000 for MS research and programs and services for Southern Californians living with MS. Event information is available at www.MyMSChallenge.com, or phone Jennifer West, special events senior director, at (760) 448-8435.
The minimum donation required to walk is $2,500 per person, which includes overnight hotel accommodations, meals and entertainment. Lunches are included along the route. Breakfast and dinner meals are provided at the host hotel. The fundraising minimum for walkers between ages 10 to 16 is $1,500. Walkers must be at least 10 years old to walk.
The Challenge Walk’s day #1, 20-mile walk on Friday, Sept. 5 will begin at the Flower Fields in Carlsbad and end at the San Diego Marriott Del Mar Hotel. The day #2, 20-mile walk will begin at the hotel and end at Ventura Cove in Mission Bay, where buses will shuttle walkers to the hotel for a dinner and entertainment. The final day #3, 10-mile walk on Sunday, Sept. 7 will begin at Ventura Cove and end around noontime at Embarcadero Marina Park South, located behind the San Diego Convention Center in Downtown San Diego. The route is fully supported with medical staff and rest stops with snacks and beverages. If a walker is unable to complete a portion of the route, Support and Gear (SAG) vehicles provide transportation assistance all three days.
Since the event’s inception in 2002, when 179 local walkers raised $496,000, the San Diego-based Pacific South Coast Chapter’s Challenge Walk has raised a cumulative total of more than $10 million, which is among the highest dollar amounts of any of the nine other Challenge Walk MS events organized by the 50-state network for MS Society chapters in the U.S. The Southern California Challenge Walk MS, organized by both the San Diego-based Pacific South Coast Chapter and the Los Angeles-based Southern California & Nevada Chapter, is the only Challenge Walk west of the Mississippi River.
MS, the most common neurological disease leading to disability in young adults, is typically diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, although an estimated 8,000-to-10,000 children under the age of 18 also live with MS. Two to three times more women than men have been diagnosed with MS. An estimated 2.3 million people live with MS worldwide.
MS symptoms can range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis, as well as blurred vision, loss of balance, poor coordination, slurred speech, tremors, numbness, extreme fatigue and cognitive deficits. Symptoms might be permanent, or they might come and go. By eating away at the coating that allows nerve cells to transmit messages, MS can lead to restrictive or awkward movements and mental gaps, among other problems. Studies indicate that genetic factors may make certain individuals more susceptible to the disease, but there is no evidence that MS is directly inherited.