-- Carlsbad is starting line for 3-day, 50-mile walk for multiple sclerosis

No one is ever the same again after walking 50 miles in 3 days for multiple sclerosis from Carlsbad to Downtown San Diego.

The journey of a lifetime will begin on Friday morning, Sept. 20, at the Flower Fields in Carlsbad. More than 200 people will begin to walk 50 miles in three days at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Southern California Challenge Walk MS.


The Challenge Walk is a fundraiser that is expected to raise about $850,000 for MS research and programs and services for Southern Californians living with MS, a chronic, unpredictable and disabling disease of the central nervous system with no known cause, cure or prevention. Last year’s Challenge Walk in 2011 featured 215 people, including 54 people who have MS, who helped raise about $969,000 in donations.


It will be very emotional morning. Walkers will be crying because they're walking 50 miles in honor of a loved one who either suffers from multiple sclerosis, or has died from it. There will be cheers from family members.


Many walkers have been training for months for this moment. After passing the starting line, these road warriors will be off, leaving jobs, boyfriends, husbands, kids and other anchors of life in their determined wakes.


The walk along the coastline will start at 8 a.m. this Friday morning, Sept. 23, at Carlsbad’s Flower Fields and end around noontime on Sunday, Sept. 23 in Downtown San Diego. The Day #1, 20-mile walk will begin at the Flower Fields and end at the Marriott Hotel in Del Mar. The Day #2, 20-mile walk will begin at the hotel and end at Ventura Cove in Mission Bay, where buses will shuttle walkers back to the hotel for a dinner and entertainment. The Day #3, 10-mile walk will begin at Ventura Cove and end around noontime at Embarcadero Marina Park South, located behind the San Diego Convention Center in Downtown San Diego.


The Challenge Walk is a life-changing event, the journey of a lifetime, a celebration of the human spirit that nobody will ever forget. How many experiences do you remember for the rest of your life? The MS Challenge Walk is one long journey which will ultimately shorten the road to a cure for MS. It's not about being athletic. It's not about physical endurance. Instead, it's about showing compassion and reaffirming a commitment to end the devastating effects of MS.


The minimum donation required to walk in the 2012 Challenge Walk MS is $2,500 per person, which includes overnight hotel accommodations, meals and entertainment. Walkers between ages 12 and 16 have a fundraising minimum of $1,500. Registration is still open and donations will be accepted. Event information is available at www.myMSchallenge.com, or phone Jennifer West, special events director, at (760) 448-8435.


The 11th annual Southern California Challenge Walk MS is presented by the National MS Society’s Pacific South Coast Chapter in San Diego. Since the event’s inception in 2002, when 179 local walkers raised $496,000, the Pacific South Coast Chapter’s Challenge Walk has raised more than $9.5 million, which is among the highest dollar amounts of any of the nine other Challenge Walk MS events organized by the 50-state network for MS Society chapters in the U.S. The Southern California Challenge Walk MS, which is organized by both the San Diego-based Pacific South Coast Chapter and the Los Angeles-based Southern California/Nevada Chapter, is the only Challenge Walk west of the Mississippi River.


MS is the most common neurological disease leading to disability in young‑ to middle‑aged adults. Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, and more than twice as many women as men have MS. Symptoms cannot be predicted and can vary greatly, ranging from numbness in the limbs and extreme fatigue to loss of balance and muscle coordination or paralysis.

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