ENID, Okla. — LaDona Hays, chairwoman of Walk MS: Northwest Oklahoma, believes this year’s walk this April in Garber will be its biggest yet.
The third annual three-mile walk begins at 10 a.m. April 12 across from the Country Cabin Cafe, 321 Comanche. Team registration, which is free, begins at 9 a.m.
Participants can run or walk the route, and also will receive a T-shirt.
Money raised and donated benefits services, programs and research of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society of Oklahoma.
The society plans to raise at least $20,000 this year from the walk, but Hays said she expects more.
Last year, the walk raised nearly $25,000 with 168 participants, she said, compared with 2012’s about $10,000.
“It’s just kind of big, for Garber especially,” Hays said.
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system, causing blindness and paralysis.
A team must be comprised of at least four people, said Hays, of Garber, whose own team, “Too Inspired To Be Tired,” has raised more than $3,600 as of Sunday.
Teams so far have members from Okeene, Crescent, Covington and the surrounding Enid area. No one from Enid has registered as of Sunday, Hays said.
Young adults in their 20s and 30s most commonly are diagnosed with MS.
Hays, however, was diagnosed about nine years ago when she was 42, she said.
“[Doctors] said I’d probably had it all my life, and it just laid dormant,” she said. “They found it through an MRI, and the spinal tap confirmed it.”
Because of the disease, Hays mostly experiences trouble with her eyes.
“It’s really affected my eyesight worse than anything,” said Hays, who gives herself a shot of symptom-alleviating Avonex medication every week.
More than 3,700 Oklahomans have MS and receive services from the Oklahoma MS society.
The event also will include a bounce house, a burger and hot dog cookout, a bake sale, a photo booth, craft booths and Shrine clowns, she said.
To register as a walker or volunteer, or make a donation, go to walkMSok.com. Participants also may register the day of the event.