The annual MS Walk presented by the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada (MSSC) has moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The MSSC has asked all Canadians to join their virtual movement and take part in the #WeChallengeMS initiative on Sunday, May 24.
The first ever online initiative encourages participants to create or join a awareness and fundraising event through the MSSC website such as a virtual walk, or a physical challenge like a bike ride or hike or even a virtual party or live stream of a hobby like music or comedy.
Participants then share their initiative on social media ignored to raise awareness and funds for the MSSC, making sure to use the hashtag #WeChallengeMS in their post.
Audrey Craigmyle, a member of the Quesnel MS Self Help Group, says that this year has been particularly challenging to raise funds due to the pandemic and the resulting downturn in the economy but she is hopeful that the virtual walk will help raise greater awareness of MS.
“It’s not just about fundraising, this year it really is about bringing awareness to the chronic disease that so many Canadians have,” said Craigmyle. “With the present economy it’s almost impossible to get people to donate and we totally understand that, we just hope to raise as much awareness as possible.”
The Quesnel MS Support Group receives 10 per cent back of the funds it raises for the MSSC and with those funds is able to help provide transportation for it’s members, provide equipment that might be needed and even send younger members to youth camps.
Craigmyle says that having a support group in the community is extremely valuable and hopes that although the traditional large fundraising initiatives for the MSSC, the MS Walk and MS Bike events have had to be cancelled this year that MS awareness continues to grow.
“We really support each other through the MS journey and we really want to try and bring awareness to everyone that the group is in town and we are here if anybody needs support even if it’s just a listening ear,” said Craigmyle.
According to the MSSC website Canada has one of the highest rates of MS in the world, with an estimated 77,000 Canadians living with the disease. MS is classifies as a autoimmune disease of the central nervous system which attacks the protective covering of nerves called myelin.
To donate to the Quesnel MS Self Help Group or find out more information about starting your own #WeChallengeMS event individuals are asked to visit the MSSC website at www.mssociety.ca.