By Danielle Church
Harker Heights Herald
Hundreds of area residents will walk with one mission in mind Saturday at Carl Levin Park: to fund research for a multiple sclerosis cure and aid those who suffer from the disease.
"Basically, the reason for the walk is to have people participate in building funds towards the research and programs that will benefit people living with MS locally," said Peggy Muller, event facilitator.
Muller has been living with MS for about 20 years and said she has since gotten herself "very deep" into the National MS Society - a collection of passionate individuals who want to do something about the debilitating disease affecting the central nervous system.
"In the beginning it was very life changing," she said of being diagnosed. "I'm unable to work anymore; I had a medical career and had to leave it."
Once she found the MS society, Muller said her life changed considerably.
"I just had one of those light bulb moments," Muller said about hearing of other MS walks. "'Why not here?'"
She then researched every park possible in the area and found the Harker Heights park to be the most efficient.
"When I started (the walk) 10 years ago it was me, myself and I," Muller recalled. "Through the years, I have been able to build it and now have a task force team that is just phenomenal."
MS activist and volunteer John Hanks was diagnosed with the disease in 1998 while on active duty in the Army.
Hanks said he had kept to himself after learning of his diagnosis, and that it wasn't until retiring in 2007 he decided to become an advocate.
"It started off as just a way to get involved," he said of the MS society. "And now it's become more. I love telling (my) story."
Hanks said his overall goal in working with the organization is to educate people on the disease and make them aware of the differences between MS and muscular dystrophy, or MD, which he said a lot of people confuse.
Much like Hanks' own yearning to spread the word, Muller said their group has added advocacy to their program and are seeking to spread the word about MS during Saturday's walk.
"There is no cure," she said, but she hopes that with a little motivation and help from the community, MS research will continue to benefit.
Contact Danielle Church at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7567.