More than 250 people came out to Heritage Park Saturday morning to participate in Walk MS: Cullman, most wearing signs on their backs in honor of those for whom they were walking. (Nick Griffin for The Tribune)
CULLMAN – The rain held off long enough Saturday morning for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s annual Walk MS: Cullman event, and more than 250 participants made their way around Heritage Park.
Every dollar of the proceeds from the event goes toward multiple sclerosis research, and Andrew Bell, president of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Alabama-Mississippi Chapter said he is amazed to see how many dollars Cullman has generated for the cause over the years.
“We’re expecting today to raise somewhere over $40,000 to support MS research, to support programs for people living with MS and services as well so it’s a multi-faceted approach to help people living with MS and really their entire family,” Bell said. “The event just continues to amaze us, and we’ve been so well supported by Cullman and also the surrounding communities, for that matter. We have people from Decatur here today and really all over the region to participate in Walk: MS and I think the MS community is very tight. I often times liken these events to family reunions; it’s one time a year that we know we can all come together and celebrate all that we’re accomplishing together. It’s not possible without everybody working towards a single goal which is ultimately a world without MS.”
Bell also made sure to recognize a local physician that he believes has made a massive impact, not just for people in Cullman living with MS, but those all over the country.
“The Cullman walk has been going on at least 15 years and it would not be possible without the great support of Dr. Chris LaGanke who sees patients from all over the southeastern United States living with MS. They travel from far and wide to see Dr. LaGanke and it’s his compassionate care and his bedside manner that people so appreciate,” Bell said. “When you get in front of Dr. LaGanke he gives you all the time you need to ask questions and to get the information you need to leave that appointment and live your best life with MS.”
The weather wasn’t perfect for Saturday’s walk, and that may have kept a few folks at home, but Bell said that despite that, Cullman continues to see one of the best turnouts year after year.
“Today is a rainy day so we probably would have had another 200 or so people out with us today if the weather had cooperated, but that’s one thing in event planning you can never control,” Bell said. “We expect probably 250-300 people here today, normally it’s about 500 so I would say as far as per capita in the state of the Alabama, Cullman is probably our top walk considering the size of the community and the number of people it attracts. To draw 500 people in a community this size, that’s significant.”
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