KAPAA — Joy Ortiz Zimmer said she couldn’t let the girls down Saturday after flying in from Phoenix to be part of the Multiple Sclerosis Sunset Stroll at the Kapaa Beach Park.
“I couldn’t not do this,” Zimmer said, donning her specially made puakenikeni lei by former mayor Maryanne Kusaka. “I had to come back and see my girls.”
Zimmer was one of more than 225 walkers supporters of those in the fight to end MS.
“I’m good friends with Krystal Morinaka,” said Maria Colon, owner of The Kauai Lash Lounge in Waipouli. “I’ve done this for the past 11 years to help and support Krystal. I’ve also been diagnosed with MS, and eat gluten-free to help myself.”
Candice Lynch Schwalbach, director of the National MS Society, Pacific South Coast Chaper-Hawaii office, said initial tallies show that the group made a valiant effort, but came short of the goal of raising $60,000.
Saturday’s numbers came in at more than $44,000.
“They should make goal,” Schwalbach said. “We have another contest coming up where people have an opportunity to earn interisland flights. That should help them make up some money to their goal.”
Schwalbach said the Walk MS, called the Sunset Stroll on Kauai, connects people like Colon and Morinaka who live with MS and those like Zimmer, who also has MS, who care about them.
“Funds raised at Walk MS give hope to more than 2.3 million people living with MS worldwide,” Schwalbach said. “We have been walking since 1988 and to date, have raised more than $920 million to support life-changing programs and cutting-edge research.”
Team captain Cindy Edralin’s brother, Kirk Correa, was one of the big checks which poured in, his effort being a $500 contribution from Garden Island Baseball generated from a collegiate baseball and softball showcase and clinic which was headed up by Dallas Correa in December, 2015.
Schwalbach said in 2014, more than 333,000 individuals participated in Walk MS event across the country, raising more than $48.7 million to fund critical research and help people address the challenges of MS.
Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain and between the brain and body.