More than 1,500 walkers put their best foot forward yesterday for the annual MS Walk at Tunney’s Pasture.
The walk began with the release of 500 red balloons into the air, each representing a $20 donation to the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, which funds research and services for those with MS.
Last year, Ottawa walkers raised $323,000 in sponsorships, and this year’s goal is $350,000.
Adam Goldberg, a pharmacy technician at Shoppers Drug Mart and the walk’s top fundraiser, single-handedly raised $10,000 this year. Diagnosed with MS in 2004, he has been walking every year since 2006. He began fundraising for this year’s walk in November.
“I figured I can do this and I know people with MS who cannot,” he said, “So I thought why not use my abilities to raise money?”
Other stars of the MS walk are some 200 volunteers who keep the day’s events running smoothly and cheer on the walkers from the sidelines.
“I would say they are one of the most important volunteer groups,” said volunteer co-ordinator Nadine Lee, “Because they really encourage all of our walkers when they’re coming back, just giving them that extra push and motivation to finish the walk. Two point five kilometres might not sound like a long distance, but for some people living with MS it’s quite a trek.”
Also doing her part was high school student Ophira Calof, who’s organized A Night for Music, a benefit concert at Carleton University’s Kailash Mital Theatre, for May 26, World MS Day.