Community walks for MS

Seventy-one-year-old Platteville resident Joanne Reese could not stop smiling as she waited for the start of the third annual Walk for Multiple Sclerosis in Platteville last Sunday.

She was surrounded by Team Re­ese, comprised of her daughter Joanna Stuckey, two grandchildren Jessica Stuckey and Tanya Clayton, and great-granddaughter Kinsey Clayton.

Reese, who has battled multiple sclerosis for most of her life, was de­lighted by the turnout. Over thirty groups with names that included the Pioneer Pickles, Too Inspired to be Tired, and the Whild Ones participated in the walk. Before “Walking to find a Cure” on either a one or three mile course, teams could partake in pre-walk refreshments and listen to the Na­tional Anthem that was sung by mem­bers of Sigma Alpha Iota.

According to Grant County hospice nurse Kim Martens, Wisconsin has one of the highest numbers of diagnosed MS cases in the country, affecting one out of every five hundred residents.

“For this reason, it is especially im­portant to raise MS awareness in our community,” Martens said. “More than likely, we all know someone that is fighting this disease.”

The fundraising goal for this year’s walk is to match or exceed the $17,000 raised last year.

“This goal would not be possible without student support,” said Mau­reen Waslicki, marketing communica­tions director for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Wisconsin Chapter. “Good community support is crucial to fight the feeling of isolation that can occur for MS patients living in rural areas.”

Students Planning for Success was one of many University of Wiscon­sin-Platteville student-led groups that volunteered to help out at Saturday’s walk. Started in 1996, Students Plan­ning for Success is active in promoting disability awareness on campus. Di­anne Conover, a freshman forensic sci­ence major, said she enjoyed helping with walk registrations and is already looking forward to next year’s event.

Junior Kayla Link, a criminal jus­tice major, helped inflate over 125 balloons supplied by her Dubuque em­ployer, Party City.

“It was a great experience; I’ll defi­nitely be back!” Link said.

Along the course, walkers were treated to refreshments provided by UW-Platteville Alliance group mem­bers. After finishing the walk, Pio­neers Pete mingled with the crowd while they ate pizza and listened to music.