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Walk MS brings out crowd

BAXTER - Summer-like temperatures greeted participants Saturday in the Walk MS at the Northland Arboretum. The fundraising event supports the fight against multiple sclerosis (MS), an unpredictable and often disabling disease of the central nervo...

Kyler Kraus runs ahead of Nakaeda Zlonis Saturday on the Paul Bunyan State Trail in Baxter. Tonya Kraus (left), Miss Teen Minnesota Alexia Patel, Miss Baxter Anna Bieganek, Charlene Osvald and Roxie Matsen take part in the Walk MS: Christopher and Banks Brainerd Walk to raise funds for the fight against multiple sclerosis. Renee Richardson/Brainerd Dispatch video/gallery
Kyler Kraus runs ahead of Nakaeda Zlonis Saturday on the Paul Bunyan State Trail in Baxter. Tonya Kraus (left), Miss Teen Minnesota Alexia Patel, Miss Baxter Anna Bieganek, Charlene Osvald and Roxie Matsen take part in the Walk MS: Christopher and Banks Brainerd Walk to raise funds for the fight against multiple sclerosis. Renee Richardson/Brainerd Dispatch video/gallery

BAXTER - Summer-like temperatures greeted participants Saturday in the Walk MS at the Northland Arboretum.

The fundraising event supports the fight against multiple sclerosis (MS), an unpredictable and often disabling disease of the central nervous system. The Walk MS: Christopher & Banks Brainerd Walk 2015 brought out teams, families and individuals to support the fight against MS.

Tonya Kraus, Roxie Matsen and Charlene Osvald were walking for two family members, both stricken with MS. Kraus' father Randy, brother to Matsen and Osvald, was diagnosed in his mid-20s. Matsen and Osvald are in a family with nine siblings. One of their sisters, Brenda, was also diagnosed with MS in her 30s. They said the numbers who showed up for the walk were encouraging in keeping the hope alive for a cure one day so other families won't have to go through what they have.

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. The National MS Society reports MS interrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. And MS affects more than 2.3 million worldwide.

The first Walk MS took place in 1988 where people who wanted to join the movement walked from downtown Minneapolis to the state capitol in St. Paul. They raised $216,000 toward research and service programs for people with MS. And they began something that grew exponentially through the new millennium and beyond. Now, the National MS Society reports Walk MS events raise $50 million a year to help people with MS move forward with their lives and end MS forever, with more than 330,000 people participating in events held in every single state.

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