OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Hundreds of people from across the Gulf Coast laced up their walking shoes to help raise money to support Multiple Sclerosis research in Ocean Springs.
Many who gathered at Fort Maurepas Park early Saturday morning agree, Multiple Sclerosis is a terrible disease that affects too many lives on the coast.
"MS is very serious. It is a disease that affects your autoimmune system, which can cause issues with being able to see, being able to walk, and there are a lot of things people suffer from it," area coordinator Marlo Blankenship said.
Marlene Tompkins was diagnosed with MS in 2004.
"I was shocked, scared and we always fear the unknown. Knowing it is a disease they don't have cure for now really overwhelmed me," Tompkins said.
To help the MS Society address the challenges Tompkins and others living with MS face, hundreds of supporters donated money and walked along the beach as a sign of unity.
"We now have medication out to help treat some of the symptoms. We don't have a cure, but that's why we are out here raising money to hopefully find a cure one day," Blankenship said.
As the search for a cure continues there are still walkers, like Toyia Brannon, who are making amazing strides to beat MS.
"I was in a wheel chair for about five years, and I had done this walk ever since I found out. This year is a celebration because I get to start this walk by walking this year. My motto has been that yes, I have MS, but MS doesn't have me," Brannon said.
It is a motto she wants others to follow on their road of hope to beat this disease.
This year's fundraising goal is around $35,000. Blankenship said there are more than 6,300 people living with MS in Alabama and Mississippi.