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More Than 650 Manchester Area Residents Step Out For A Single Cause

MANCHESTER, Conn. More than 650 Manchester area residents laced up and stepped out Sunday, April 22, to take part in the 18th annual Travelers MS Walk, presented by UnitedHealth Group, which was held on the campus of Manchester Community College (MCC). Under sunny skies and unseasonably warm temperatures, area residents came out in force to support the more than 6,000 Connecticut residents diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). Those in the area facing the unpredictable effects of MS looked to family, friends and co-workers to support them in the fight against a potentially debilitating disease.Walkers

“We are delighted with the incredible turnout,” said Karen E. Butler, vice president of communications with the Greater Connecticut Chapter. “The visible support and passion of those attending buoy and encourage those affected by multiple sclerosis. Meaningful change takes place when individuals from all walks of life step out together in support of a single cause to end the devastating effects of multiple sclerosis.”

 Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, oftentimes debilitating, disease affecting the central nervous system. The cause is unknown, and there is no cure for MS. More than 400,000 nationwide are diagnosed with MS and more than 6,000 statewide live with multiple sclerosis, including more than 100 Manchester area residents.

Participants walked 2.5- or 5-mile routes, returning to finish line festivities, which included music and games hosted by 96.5 TIC and lunch compliments of Subway and Coca-Cola.

A resident of South Windsor, Conn., Mary Smith, 45, has been living with the debilitating effects of MS since 1998. She and her family, including two teenage sons, have been participating at the Manchester MS Walk since 2000. Her youngest son, Shane, to be featured in a cover story on family caregivers in an upcoming edition of the national publication “Caring Today,” has been named among the top fundraisers statewide for the past two years. “Team Mary, captained by Smith, has been named among the top ten team fundraisers statewide in 2005, when it raised more than $12,100, and again in 2006, when it raised more than $11,000.

“I hadn’t hugged this many people in a long time,” said Smith, who despite the debilitating effects of her disease attended the April 22 event with her family and more than 100 teammates. “It’s so good to see so many from the community come out in support of people living with MS. I am truly moved by this public demonstration of care and support.”Little boy

Funds raised through National MS Society, Greater Connecticut Chapter events, such as the Travelers MS Walk, ensure ongoing scientific research to find better therapies, treatments and a cure. Funds also provide for vital programs and services offered by the chapter to those in the state affected by multiple sclerosis.

 The Manchester walk site planning committee hopes to raise more than $132,600. The prize deadline for submitting outstanding individual and team pledges is May 31. The Greater Connecticut Chapter, which now hosts walks at 10 site locations, hopes to raise $1.1 million. Last year, the MS Walk raised approximately $1 million. For more information regarding outstanding pledges and prize eligibility, please call Michelle Zimnoch, development director, at (860) 714-2300, ext. 234.



Karen E. Butler
Vice President of Communications
Greater Connecticut Chapter
tel +1.860.714.2300
cell +1.860.997.4487



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