There are 1,500 people living with multiple sclerosis in the Ottawa area.
And lately — due to economy or awareness — more people have been tapping into the Ottawa chapter of the MS Society’s resources.
“We’re getting more requests for social services and financial aid and things like that,” said Nadene Lee, resources coordinator with the Ottawa chapter.
This Sunday, more than 1,400 people from across Ottawa will gather at the Central Experimental Farm to endeavour to make the organization’s task a bit easier.
In its 18th year, the Ottawa chapter MS Walk —one of more than 160 taking place across Canada —will raise money to fund research and to provide local programs and services for those with the disease.
Multiple sclerosis is the most common disease of the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) among young adults in Canada. Canada has one of the highest rates of MS in the world, with approximately three people being diagnosed each day and with women three times more likely to be diagnosed as men.
Lee said organizers hope the event — which raised $317,000 last year — will bring in $350,000 this year.
“We’re not sure with the economic times, but we’re very hopeful and optimistic,” she said.
Most of the money raised from the walk stays local, said Lee. Although the chapter funds Canadian MS research and shares funds with smaller chapters, most of the money raised this weekend goes towards funding the chapter’s client services program.
“Seeing all the teams, friends and families dressed up and cheering on walk day really makes you realize how many people are touched by MS in our community,” said walk chairman Mark Lloyd.
To register for the walk, visit www.mswalk.ca or sign up at the walk site from 8 to 10 a.m. Sunday.