Walk MS: Sunset Stroll and Poker Party keeps people connected

LIHU‘E — Multiple sclerosis affects more than 400,000 people in the United States and more than 5,600 people in Hawai‘i, including some Kaua‘i residents.

Although Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week was celebrated last week, Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr., with the assistance of Cyndi Ayonon, on Tuesday presented a proclamatiojn to show this support for people who are coping with MS on Kaua‘i.

The Kaua‘i Walk MS: Sunset Stroll and Poker Party is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. on April 14, starting at Kapa‘a Beach Park and using the multi-use path.

People still have time to form teams of friends, family, or co-workers to help the fight against MS.

Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease.

“We’re going to be there,” Ayonon told Joy Ortiz-Zimmer, co-chair of the Walk MS: Sunset Stroll and Poker Party with Laurie Weber. “I’m forming the team as soon as the proclamation is presented.”

The Walk MS is the signature fundraising event of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, participants enjoying an achievement shared by more than 250,000 walkers in more than 700 cities across the country.

Walkers make a difference by raising awareness of MS, as well as raising funds for research and services for people with MS.

Multiple Sclerosis is described as a chronic, unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system which interrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body, states the MS Awareness Week proclamation.

MS symptoms vary in intensity and occur in various combinations, but the majority of individuals with MS live a normal life span, learn to cope with the disease and live full, productive lives.

Cynthia Edralin was diagnosed with MS several years ago, becoming actively involved in Walk MS, along with a family group, hui ma kepilialo.

“We have our latest version of the Support MS Cookbook available now,” Edralin said. “We didn’t have a cookbook last year because it was a bad MS year, but this year, we’re back.”

Edralin said the cookbook sales benefit Walk MS. In addition to a plethora of recipes, the book includes personal experiences of people dealing with MS, including herself, Ortiz-Zimmer and others, Edralin said.

Cookbooks are available for $12.50 each and can be ordered by contacting Edralin at cedralin@hawaiiantel.net.

Multiple sclerosis is a life-altering disease which affects each person in a unique and different way, said Arney Rosenblat of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

“MS destroys connections, drives minds from bodies, pulls people from their lives and away from one another,” he said in a NMSS news release. “It’s only fitting that connections would be its greatest enemy. As more connections are formed, more knowledge is shared, more questions asked, more resources gathered, and more hope is provided to help people with MS move their lives forward.”

Although there is no cure for MS yet, there are FDA-approved medications which have been shown to “modify” or slow down the underlying course of MS, and numerous therapeutic and technological advances are helping people manage symptoms, the proclamation states.

The NMSS last year, through its national office and 50-state network of chapters, devoted $164 million to programs which enhanced more than 1 million lives while investing $40 million to support more than 325 new and ongoing research projects around the world.

Visit www.nationalmssociety.org for more information about the society. Register for the walk at www.msHawaii.org.

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