Utica, N.Y. - Jeff Barrett of West Winfield made the trip north to Utica Sunday morning to take part in the annual Walk MS, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society's largest fundraising effort of the year, which actually takes place in hundreds of communities around the country each spring.
Barrett says his wife has MS and this walk is an important walk, not just for his wife and their entire family, but for individuals and families across the U.S., "They’re doing a lot of good with the research, and new drugs are coming out all the time, and it’s been very helpful, it’s certainly been helpful for her."
Barrett is not alone in his support of this cause, nearly 200 people came out on Sunday to the Masonic Care Community in Utica to take part in the Walk MS and contribute the money they themselves raised for the cause.
Luke Pena, a Utica College student who formed a team of walkers, walked with his new team on Sunday, "We're walking today for my mother, she has multiple sclerosis. She was diagnosed when she was 30 years old, she just turned 50 last week, so I thought for her birthday I would raise money for the walk for her. We raised $505. Our goal was $500, so we met our goal."
Shari Mazzella, the Vice President of Programs and Services for the Upstate New York Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society says despite the cold and rain, many people still showed up on Sunday to not only contribute their fundraising dollars, but to show just how much it means to continue fighting for a cure, "We’re really here because we want to find a cure for MS and the way we do that is by fundraising across the country. Research dollars from walks across the country have led to the first FDA approved medication for Primary Progressive MS last year, just last year. That’s such a huge milestone for us because there wasn’t a treatment for that type of MS in the past."
The goal on Sunday was to raise $37,000 at this year's Walk MS in Utica. In total, the National MS Society expects to raise about $40 million dollars during this year's Walk MS walks across the country.