Annual MS Benefit Walk gears up for 16th year.

LUSK - It’s time for the 16th Annual MS Walk for the Cure so get your outdoor walking shoes dusted off and make plans to join us. This is a good opportunity to get outside, get moving and support a worthy cause. The walk gets underway on Saturday, April 27 at the Niobrara Senior Center with registration beginning at 8:00 a.m. The route will be marked and maps will be available. Walkers are encouraged to get donations which will be used for research toward finding a cure for the debilitating disease of multiple sclerosis. All the money raised at our Lusk walk goes toward research – there are no administrative costs incurred.

Our community has always been very supportive of this event and because of this support we are one step closer to a cure. We would like this to be the last year for the walk but that will only happen when a cure is found. Thank you for your past support but we can’t stop now. If you are unable to attend the walk but would like to make a donation, please forward it to MS Benefit, PO Box 612, Lusk WY. If you have any questions, please call Randi Ross at 334-0107 or 216-0073.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. The cause of MS is still unknown – scientists believe the disease is triggered by as-yet-unidentified environmental factor(s) in a person who is genetically predisposed to respond.

MS is thought to affect more than 2.3 million people worldwide. While the disease is not contagious or directly inherited, epidemiologists — scientists who study patterns of disease — have identified factors in the distribution of MS around the world that may eventually help determine what causes the disease. These factors include gender, genetics, age, geography and ethnic background. Although more people are being diagnosed with MS today than in the past, the reasons for this are not clear. Likely contributors, however, include greater awareness of the disease, better access to medical care and improved diagnostic capabilities. There is no definitive evidence that the rate of MS is generally on the increase.

Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, although MS can occur in young children and significantly older adults.

MS occurs in most ethnic groups, including African-Americans, Asians and Hispanics/Latinos, but is more common in Caucasians of northern European ancestry.

MS is at least two to three times more common in women than in men, suggesting that hormones may also play a significant role in determining susceptibility to MS. And some recent studies have suggested that the female to male ratio may be as high as three or four to one.

Genetic factors are thought to play a significant role in determining who develops MS.

  • The average person in the United States has about one chance in 750 of developing MS.
  • For first-degree relatives of a person with MS, such as children, siblings or non-identical twins, the risk rises to approximately one in 40 — with the risk being potentially higher in families that have several family members with the disease.
  • The identical twin of someone with MS (who shares all the same genes) has a one in four chance of developing the disease. If genes were solely responsible for determining who gets MS, an identical twin of someone with MS would have a 100 percent chance of developing the disease; the fact that the risk is only one in four demonstrates that other factors, including geography, ethnicity and the elusive infectious trigger, are likely involved as well.