COPPER MOUNTAIN, Colo. - Hundreds of people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) and their families will lace up their hiking boots and hit the trails around Copper Mountain this weekend to raise money for research and MS patient support. Registration ends Wednesday for Saturday's fourth annual Hike MS Colorado.
According to Tricia Williams, community outreach manager for the Colorado-Wyoming Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, scientists began developing medicines to combat MS symptoms about 20 years ago, and the future is promising.
"It's really fantastic and I think that people are able to live a strong, healthy life now because we've done all this work and it's exciting to think about where we're going to go tomorrow," Williams declared.
Lisa Melies of Brighton was diagnosed with MS four years ago, and at the time thought it signaled the end of an active life. It didn't take long for her to get back on her feet and realize there was no end in sight to her potential. She's been coming to Hike MS ever since.
"I keep going," she said. "My kids keep me going. I just decided I wasn't going to sit down and feel sorry for myself, that that was not going to do me any good, and it may or may not happen that I end up in a wheelchair. If I do, I'll get back out."
According to the National MS Society, 75 percent of people living with the disease are women and most are diagnosed between age 20 and 50. There is no cure, but several drugs and therapies are available to help people live a more normal, active life in many cases.
Tricia Williams noted that, while there have been walking events to raise money for MS for 25 years, hiking is an obvious activity for people in the region.
"This is Colorado," she said. "We love to hike and we have lots of options available so that, depending on your ability, you could do a two-mile hike, a six-mile hike or a ten-mile hike."
Saturday's Hike MS event at Copper Mountain offers events for people at various skill levels and there will be music from Denver's own Bop Skizzum, food in Copper Mountain Village and a fireworks display for all to enjoy.
Online registration for Hike MS Colorado is open until Wednesday, July 24, at HikeMSColorado.org. The cost is $40, which includes breakfast, lunch, live music and a t-shirt. Registrants are asked to raise a minimum of $50. Day-of registration will also be available.