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Walkers on march against MS

April 10, 1999|By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

It didn't take any effort for Hagerstown resident Mary Beth Kinman to stay in the lead of her group in the annual Multiple Sclerosis Walk on Saturday morning.

Pushed by her father, Clear Spring High School health teacher Matt Kinman, Mary Beth's stroller led a pack of seven brisk walkers, including her parents, another Clear Spring teacher and her husband, and three Clear Spring High students.

"This is her second walk. She was 10 weeks old when she did her first one," said her mother, Christin Kinman, 24, walking for two people with MS who she knows.

The Kinmans were among more than 135 participants in the 10-kilometer (approximately 6.2 miles) walk this year, said Bob Dailey, one of the event's organizers.

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Starting and ending at City Park, the route took walkers - identified by signs affixed to their backs - through downtown Hagerstown and around the North End.

Sunny and cool, it was a perfect day for a walk, said Dailey, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 15 years ago and now uses a wheelchair.

Unfortunately, participation seemed lower than last year, he said. He blamed it on too short notice, caused by miscommunication among organizers this year.

Eight teams and 129 individual walkers had registered by March 29, Dailey said.

Walkers could register right before the walk, but it didn't appear that many did, he said.

An estimated 250 walkers participated last year.

Usually held the first or second weekend of April, the MS Walk is the local Multiple Sclerosis Society's main fund-raiser, Dailey said.

Of the proceeds, 40 percent stays in the county and state and 60 percent goes to research into a cure and treatment for MS, which affects the central nervous system, he said.

Christin Kinman said her family began participating in the walk last year because the disease had touched their lives and they wanted to help.

They were walking for a local teacher and a fellow church member who have MS, Kinman said.

"It's a very debilitating disease that strikes so suddenly," she said.

Clear Spring High teacher Katie Beaver, 29, said she and her husband, Doug, 35, were also walking for the local teacher.

It was their second year as well, she said.

They wanted to help raise money not only to hasten a cure but also to fund things like driving services and wheelchair ramps to make life a little easier for people with multiple sclerosis, she said.

Rebecca Button, 28, of Cavetown, had an even more personal reason for participating the past two years.

"I have MS. I figured it's for a good cause, hopefully to find a cure for us," said Button, walking with her fiance, Tim Hartman, and 14-week-old chow puppy, Jordan.

The amount raised by the walk won't be available until Monday, Dailey said Saturday night.

More than $20,000 was raised last year, he said.

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