Hundreds come out for Cape Girardeau's MS Walk

Hundreds come out for Cape Girardeau's MS Walk
By: CJ Cassidy
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - A walk to raise money and awareness for Multiple Sclerosis or MS brings out dozens of folks in Cape Girardeau this weekend. Organizers want folks who have been diagnosed with MS to know they don't have to suffer in silence.
Turning up for walks like the one in Cape, gives patients a chance to speak up about their fears. The walks also serve as fund-raisers - and all that money goes towards more education and research, and as several walkers say the more you know - the less afraid you are. "I brought approximately 60 family and friends with me to participate in the walk," Leslie Dierks was diagnosed with MS one year ago. "It's hard to explain the feeling you have when you're not sure what your future holds," Dierks says.
But lacing up her shoes and walking with others who suffer from the same disease, helps Leslie realize she's not alone. "It inspires me to continue to be strong to try to stay healthy," she says.
Sharon Snell knows exactly how Leslie feels. She was diagnosed with MS 27 years ago, and back then - she'd never even heard about it.
MS is thought to be an auto-immune disease that affects the central nervous system, and Snell hopes money collected from walks like this one helps find a cure. "It gives you lots of hope - lots of people, I'm very thankful for that,' she says.
It wasn't only patients, their families and their furry friends, who turned up to walk around Capaha Park; volunteers lined up to take in donations, register walkers, and just lend a helping hand. "It hit home because we have one of our sorority sisters whose aunt passed away last month of MS," Valencia Jones says. "Many years ago I lost a person to MS, and to see the progress a lot in part to ms research it's a cause that work's and that's why I support it," Walter Wildman says.
It's the kind of attitude Leslie Dierks wishes will last long after the writing on the wall of hope, organizers erected has faded away.
Many people at the walk say they did not have a family history of MS, and say they were caught completely off guard when they were diagnosed.
Now they say they hope to share what they've learned with their friends and family and try to spread awareness any way they can.