San Diego County CA— The National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Pacific South Coast Chapter in San Diego has opened registration for its 15th annual Southern California Challenge Walk MS, a three-day, 50-mile walk along San Diego’s coastline, from Carlsbad to Downtown San Diego, Nov. 4-6.
The route is 20 miles the first two days and 10 miles the third day. Carlsbad’s Flower Fields will be the starting point for the Challenge Walk’s day #1, 20-mile walk on Friday, Nov. 4. Day #1 will end at the San Diego Marriott Del Mar Hotel. Day #2’s 20-mile walk on Saturday, Nov. 5 will begin at the hotel and end in Mission Bay, where buses will shuttle walkers to the hotel for a dinner and entertainment. Day #3’s 10-mile walk on Sunday, Nov. 6 will begin in Mission Bay end around noontime at Embarcadero Marina Park South, located behind the San Diego Convention Center in Downtown San Diego.
The National MS Society said about 200 people are expected to walk and raise about $700,000 in donations for MS research and programs and services for people affected by 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. Walkers will include people living with MS, as well as friends and family members of people who have MS.
“The Challenge Walk is the 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. With every step we take, we’re that much closer to ending MS forever. There are always lots of tears at this event, not only from the blisters but also the memories of loved ones who are living with MS or have died from it.”
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 17 is $1,500. Walkers must be at least 10 years old to walk. The donation minimum for first-time walkers also is $1,500. An additional registration fee is $75 per walker. 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.
Local sponsors include UltraStar Cinemas, Albertsons and Veg Fresh Farms, a supplier of fresh produce to consumers, foodservice operators and retailers.