The wind in her face and the sun shining brightly, Michelle McMunn was all smiles as she breezed along the route of Sunday’s Scotiabank MS Walk.
Since being diagnosed with the crippling disease in 1985, she has done whatever possible to take part in the annual fundraising event.
This year was extra special because instead of the traditional wheelchair, she got to sit in a specially designed cycle powered by her good friend Des Snider.
“This is terrific,” said the Penticton woman, as the pair stopped for moment along a section of Lakeshore Drive to make some adjustments. “I just love this, it feels so free.”
And she was not alone.
Penticton MS Society fundraising co-ordinator Cyndi Ternovoy estimated the number of participants Sunday at about 300 or more, which was about 100 more than in 2012.
That increase also translated into several thousand dollars more in the final total she expects will reach nearly $48,000.
“It is just so wonderful that so many people care enough to come out and support people who have MS,” said McMunn. “I just think it is something people can’t ignore.”
For her part, Ternovoy was at a loss to explain why the numbers were so high this time around.
“I think it just really speaks to our communities in the South Okanagan,” said the co-ordinator, whose mother also has MS. “No matter how hard the times we’re feeling financially here, people are still giving, but sadly more and more people are diagnosed with MS every day.
“It is something that touches a lot of people in one way or another.”
Another person taking part in this year’s walk was Sandra Goodall and members of her Movers and Shakers team that included her five-year-old daughter Sara.
“I don’t think she (Sara) is old enough to understand yet but she will,” said Goodall. “I’ve had MS for nine years, I guess you just learn to live with it.”
Despite the success, there were a couple of problems.
“We ran out of hotdogs and chairs,” said Ternovoy with a laugh. “But I guess if that’s the worst thing that happened, it’s not really so bad.”
Plans are already in the works for the 2014 walk and the co-ordinator promises there will be an ample supply of hotdogs.