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3-day, 50-mile Walk for Multiple Sclerosis Begins Today in Oceanside

Oceanside CA— What’s called “the journey of a lifetime” will begin in Oceanside.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Pacific South Coast Chapter in San Diego will host its 16th annual Southern California Challenge Walk MS, a three-day, 50-mile walk, Nov. 3-5.

About 225 people are expected to walk the route along San Diego’s coastline, from Oceanside to La Jolla. National MS Society officials said the fundraising goal of $700,000 in donations will benefit 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 three-day, 50-mile walk will begin on Friday morning, Nov. 3, at Guajome Regional Park, 3000 Guajome Lake Road, Oceanside, and will end around noontime on Sunday, Nov. 5 at Kellogg Park, 8300 Camino del Oro, La Jolla, at La Jolla Shores in La Jolla. The route is roughly 20 miles the first two days, and 10 miles the third day.

The Challenge Walk’s day #1 walk on Friday, Nov. 3 will begin at Guajome Regional Park and end at the Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa, 5480 Grand Pacific Dr., Carlsbad, near the Legoland California theme park.

The day #2 walk on Saturday, Nov. 4 will begin at the hotel and end at Ashley Falls Park, 13030 Ashley Falls Dr., San Diego, where buses will shuttle walkers to the hotel for a dinner and entertainment.

The final day #3 walk on Sunday, Nov. 5 will begin at Ashley Falls Park and end around noontime at Kellogg Park, a large grassy park located at La Jolla Shores beach in La Jolla.

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.

Walkers must be at least 10-years-old to walk. 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. The donation minimum for first-time walkers also is $2,000 for adults and $1,000 for ages 10-17. An additional registration fee is $75 per walker.

Event information is available at www.myMSchallenge.com, or phone Tiffany Lynch, Director, Walk MS & Emerging Events, at (760) 448-8435.

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.

The national sponsor of Challenge Walk MS is Carrot-Top Industries, Inc.

Local sponsors include Biogen, Sanofi Genzyme, UltraStar Cinemas, Albertsons and Veg Fresh Farms, a supplier of fresh produce to consumers, foodservice operators and retailers.