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More than 325 make annual walk for MS

April 07, 2003|by ANDREA ROWLAND

andrear@herald-mail.com

An army of walkers turned out to help fight multiple sclerosis at Antietam National Battlefield in Sharpsburg on Saturday during the ninth annual MS Walk.

More than 325 walkers - including some pets - passed under a balloon archway at the battlefield's Philadelphia Brigade Monument at 9 a.m. to begin the trek along historic Mansfield Avenue, Smoketown Road, Bloody Lane and Dunker Church Road.

The five-mile walk raised more than $31,000 for the local and national chapters of the Multiple Sclerosis Society, said Becky Boykin, executive vice president of marketing for the society's Maryland chapter.

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Saturday's "Walk Through History" was dedicated to chapter board member Dale Hollinger and his wife, Rosalie, who has MS.

Organizers had hoped to raise about $50,000 in donations and walker sponsorships, they said.

Proceeds will help pay for the research that MS sufferers and others hope will lead to a cure for the chronic disease of the central nervous system.

"I see a light at the end of the tunnel," said Jennifer "J.J." Bain, of Keedysville.

Drugs now prescribed to slow the disease's progress weren't available when Bain was diagnosed with MS in 1989. Money raised at events such as walks fueled the research that led to those drugs, which bought researchers more time to find a cure, Bain said.

Her wheelchair held a trophy for organizing the local walk's biggest team but Bain, captain of "J.J's Movers & Shakers," said she had little to do with rallying the 25 co-workers, friends and family members to walk and volunteer on Saturday. Those who support Bain surprised her by supporting the event, she said.

Virginia Scrivener, a veterinarian in Funkstown, organized the first Washington County-based MS walk in 1994 to raise awareness about and research funds for the disease which struck her brother, Bill, three years earlier, she said.

The Scrivener family turned out in full force on Saturday to chair the event. Some family members helped with registration. Others walked.

Bill's father, Smithsburg resident Tom Scrivener, drove a van around the course to pick up exhausted or ailing walkers, he said.

"We've been involved with these walks for about 10 years. There wasn't any treatment for MS when my son was diagnosed with the disease," Scrivener said. "Now, it looks like down the road they'll have something to cure it" without potentially fatal side effects.

The "Good Friends" team of Pam Wilhide, April DeLauter and Shari Hicks walked to show their support for teammate Myra Newbraugh of Hagerstown, they said.

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