Large gatherings have ground to a halt in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the supporters of Walk MS have found a way to keep moving. An event held in different communities nationwide each spring, Walk MS is hosted locally by the Multiple Sclerosis Society, Ohio Valley Chapter. Its mission is to raise funds for research and services to help those affected by multiple sclerosis. In-person events have been cancelled this year, but Western & Southern – presenting sponsor of Walk MS since 1992 – remains committed to supporting a virtual experience.
Western & Southern associates are enthusiastic supporters of Walk MS. In 2019, with corporate support and associate fundraising, Western & Southern raised $53,000 for the cause. Over the years, Western & Southern has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the MS Society.
In the past, associates’ enthusiastic support has been evident on Walk MS day in Cincinnati by a sea of blue shirts worn by members of the Western & Southern team called Willie’s Walkers, named after former Western & Southern Chairman William J. Williams. Composed of Western & Southern associates with friends and family, Willie’s Walkers fielded the largest Walk MS teams in the country in 2019 – more than 1,200 people. This year, because of COVID-19, our Willie’s Walkers team will participate by either walking at home on a treadmill or walking through their neighborhoods while observing social distancing guidelines.
Multiple sclerosis affects nearly one million people in the U.S. While the cause of MS is unknown, the impact of the disease is not. MS interrupts signals to the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord), which could affect everything from physical movement to problem solving ability. Symptoms are also broad, unpredictable and different for each individual. Some examples include numbness, memory loss, paralysis and blindness. These symptoms could be temporary or long-lasting, and those with MS can even experience new symptoms with each episode.
Walk MS is just one of the many ways Western & Southern partners with community groups to make Cincinnati the best place to live, work and celebrate life.