ROCHESTER, Minn.- Every year, KIMT News 3 proudly participates and raises money for the Walk MS, which aims to end Multiple Sclerosis. But because of the Covid-19 Pandemic, this year's walk is going virtual. So while the typical walk experience is changing, social distancing cannot and will not stop our support.
The organization had to move 330 walks nationwide to the web, including those in Rochester and Mason City. Megan Nettleton is the Senior Director of Walk MS. She says because the walk along with other events the society holds are being moved online, fundraising has taken a major hit. They're expecting to be down about $60 million this year.
"It's a scary number knowing that people are giving less, people are getting laid off. People are nervous about the future so maybe they're not donating right away, maybe they're wanting to wait and see. They might not be comfortable asking people for donations because they know maybe they're not impacted but the person they'd normally ask was just laid off or is maybe the owner of a small business. So people are hesitant to ask and we completely understand that. For us, we want you to feel comfortable fundraising. But if you aren't, first and foremost we just want you to be safe and healthy. And hopefully, when all this passes we can come back next year and start all over again. I don't want people to worry about society. We're a very strong organization but we will take a huge hit in revenue this year."
Nettleton says just because you might not be able to give monetary donations, you can still show your support to those who have MS. "Any participation in Walk MS just helps them feel positive, stay connected, and not feel so isolated. And to me that's sort of our shifted purpose is to help people with MS feeling connected to each other in this time of a pandemic, and if they fundraise that's great we will always encourage it. But our number 1 priority is that people with MS don't feel alone. The world looks so different right now but our mission remains the same. Our mission unwavering is to end MS forever, and I just want people with MS to know that."
The Rochester Walk MS is taking place on May 2, but registration is extended through September 30. You are encouraged to take photos or videos of you with loved ones going on your own Walk MS, and to share those photos using #VirtualWalkMS.
To donate, click here.