One step at a time

KAPAA — Ernie Barreira and Cindy Edralin are classmates from kindergarten.

“We know each other from that time,” Barreira said. “She has multiple sclerosis and we’re walking to support her.”

Barreira and his wife Annette were among the more than 200 walkers who left the Kapaa Beach Park for the Sunset Stroll MS Walk along the multi-use path Saturday.

“This is a good cause,” said Jamie Areola of Duke’s restaurant at Kalapaki Beach, who donated the dinner that welcomed walkers back to the park. “We’ve been doing this since they started the walk because it is the right thing to do. ‘Kinaole,’ if you don’t know the meaning, look it up.”

Sandy Poenhelt of The Right Slice made time to walk before taking to her vending spot at the Kapaa First Saturday event.

Candice Schwalbach of the MS Hawaii office in Honolulu, said they were still tallied the amount raised, but walkers were up from last year.

“I’m walking to support Laurie Nakama,” Poenhelt said.”I know people in Wisconsin who are living with MS, and now I’m starting to find people I know on Kauai who have MS. I have to do this.”

Cindy Edralin and Krystal Morinaka are both living with MS.

“The hardest thing is people who mix up MS with muscular dystrophy,” Edralin said. “MS is not the same as MD, and the walk helps raise awareness of the disease.”

Prior to being diagnosed, Morinaka and Edralin worked together, and even after Edralin was diagnosed with MS 13 years ago, Morinaka said she was not aware.

“I didn’t know anything about the disease when I was diagnosed,” Morinaka, who was diagnosed nine years ago, said. “I didn’t even realize Cindy had been diagnosed with MS previously. When I was diagnosed, I was devastated. We met through the MS society.”

They said living with MS has its good days, and its bad days.

“Every day is a challenge,” Edralin said.

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