Local MS Walk draws crowds

“It’s a nice morning for a stroll, isn’t it?” mused CTV anchor Bill Hutchinson to the crowd inside the Cedarbrae Collegiate Institute gym. With these words, he kicked off the 2009 Scarborough MS walk.

Throngs of people set out through the nearby park for a 10-kilometre walk to raise funds for multiple sclerosis research and therapy.

It’s the 14th year, as a “family-oriented non-competitive walk” in Scarborough, says supervisor Caroline Horcher,

By the time the walk kicked off at 10 a.m. there was quite the crowd, despite early fears of a bad turnout.

Barely 45 minutes before the start of the walk, the room was in a lull, at least according to two of the stranger attendees, a pair of clowns.

“Usually this place is teeming,” one of them calling herself June Bug said. “You can hardly get by. There are usually more children.”

Bug is from the Scarborough Corps of Clowns, and she and her partner have been volunteering at the walk for 12 years, out of a “sense of community and community events,” as well as in hope for a cure.

Linda Quigley is participating in the MS walk for the first time as part of a group from Curves fitness. Joining her were her four dogs which she’d rescued.

“If I’m walking, they’re walking,” Quigley says with a smile. “They love the exercise.”

For Linda Glover, the walk is a lot more personal. This is her third year. Glover is part of a group called Kelly’s angels, so named because they walk for Kelly Glover, Linda’s half-sister.

“She found out she had MS in her early 20s,” Glover said about the mother of two. “She’s been struggling with it, but she doesn’t let it get her down.”

Eventually, Kelly herself arrives to take part in the walk, despite her MS. She’s been doing it since 1998, and eventually, her best friend founded Kelly’s Angels.

“Now it’s a family affair,” she says, “and my neighbours and friends all support me.”

After the speech from Bill Hutchinson and a warmup, the crowds took to the dusty trail, led by signs.

Fortunately, it was an unusually warm, sunny day, and everyone seemed to be in good spirits.

After about an hour, there was a free lunch waiting for their return.

“One thing that’s exciting in the world of fundraising is that we’re doing more online making it easier to raise pledges,” Horcher said.

At the end of the day, almost $53,000 was raised to find the cure.