MS Walk has new ambassador
By Nick Longworth
The fifth annual Multiple Sclerosis “walk for a cure” has a new ambassador this year, Angie Bartels.
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Upper Midwest Chapter will be holding the MS walk in Park Rapids on May 4.
The annual event will be held at Heartland Park (weather permitting), beginning with registration at 11 a.m. and the walk at noon. The event aims to host more than 60 walkers who are expected to come out to help raise money for a cure. Dollars donated will support programs and services for more than 17,000 people with MS and their families in the upper Midwest Chapter area. It will also help to fund cutting-edge research in order to stop the disease in its tracks, restore lost function and hopefully end MS forever.
Bartels and her brother Mike are no strangers to the debilitating disease; both have MS.
“In 1993 Mike was diagnosed with MS, so in 1994 I started walking on his behalf. In 2009, I was then diagnosed with MS as well and so I began pushing it a little harder even yet,” Bartels said.
Only her first year as an ambassador, this is her 20th year participating in the event. Sue Monsrud, the past ambassador and coordinator (and this year’s planning committee member), nominated Angie for her role this year.
As the official ambassador, Angie’s job will include assisting the National MS Society, Upper Midwest Chapter in raising awareness and increasing participation in her community’s event. She will volunteer 25 hours in the months leading up to the event by sharing her story, doing media interviews as needed, participating in MS Awareness Week and reaching out in the community to educate and engage. She will be recognized for her efforts at the event on May 4th.
“How and why I got nominated for the position, I don’t really know. I was nominated to be the ambassador and so here I am. I’m not afraid to talk to people. I get excited about finding a cure and probably babble more than I should. It’s an honor to be recognized as somebody who is willing to go out and do whatever it takes. I don’t know if I deserve it or not, but it’s an honor,” Bartels said.
Multiple Sclerosis is 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. 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 in research and treatment are moving closer to a cure. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50 and currently more than 2.1 million people worldwide are affected by MS.
“We all are one team fighting for the same thing, and that’s a cure. All over Minnesota and all over the United States, we’re all fighting like we’re one big team. We’re all fighting for the same thing and we all have a personal stake in it, whether we have MS or know somebody who has MS,” Bartels said.
With local donations going towards further research, participation then becomes the key to success for the Park Rapids event.
“There are a lot of people with MS in the Park Rapids area who walk; I think right now we currently have 10 teams participating. You can join a team, you can come by yourself, or you can do whatever you want. We just need everybody there we can,” Bartels said.
“Research has been amazing, it has taken such big strides you would not believe it. I know in my lifetime I am hoping there will be a cure. If not, I think there will definitely be one for the generation behind me. I want to increase our donation amount by keeping people excited. I want to know that in my heart I gave more than 100 percent. I want a cure for everybody that has MS or knows someone who has MS. I want this disease done.”
For more information, people are encouraged to call 1-855-372-1331 or visit www.nationalMSsociety.org.