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Registration now open for MS Walk

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The first-ever Park Rapids Walk MS, supporting research and services for those with multiple sclerosis, will set off from Heartland Park Sunday, May 2.

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Eighteen communities across Minnesota will be coming together simultaneously to raise funds and celebrate hope for the future, explained Susan Monsrud, who was diagnosed with MS in 1999. "I am excited that Park Rapids has joined the movement."

Family members, friends and those with MS are welcome to join. Walkers may choose to walk a mile or up to five miles, said Monsrud, the Park Rapids coordinator.

Registration begins at 11 a.m. with the walk beginning at noon.

Teams of four or individuals may head down the trail. Teams are asked to appoint a captain and choose a name.

Walkers are being asked to each raise $100 in donations.

Lunch, prizes, games - and interaction are on the agenda.

Registration may be completed online at www.theMSWalk.org.

Sponsors and volunteers are also being sought for the event.

Sponsors' names and/or company logos will be printed on walkers' T-shirts as well as promotional materials for the event.

Cash and in-kind donations, such as food or use of vehicles, are welcome.

The national MS Society serves nearly 10,000 people and their families in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Funds raised from Walk MS: Park Rapids will support research, programs and local services.

Among the services is the newly formed Park Rapids MS support group.

Sprouting in the summer of 2009, the goal is to assist people living with the effects of MS by promoting personal connections and enhancing emotional health, Monsrud said.

The group meets at 6:30 p.m. the third Wednesday of the month at St. Joseph's Area Health Services.

MS is a disease of the central nervous system. This disorder damages the protective insulation (known as "myelin") surrounding the nerves (known as "axons"), and may also damage theses nerves within the CNS.

As a result, nerve impulses carrying messages from the brain and spinal cord may short circuit, causing reduced or lost bodily function.

MS is the most common neurological disorder diagnosed in young adults. Its causes are not yet fully understood and researchers continue to search for answers. MS is not contagious and does not shorten the life expectancy of those who are diagnosed with the disease.

Although the disease may not be cured or prevented at this time, treatments are available to reduce severity and delay progression.

The effects of MS differ with each individual. Some people experience symptoms for a short period of time and afterward may remain symptom-free for periods or months or years, while others may experience a more steady progression of the disease.

For more information, contact Monsrud at 237-2067.

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