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MASON CITY, Iowa - The Southbridge Mall food court was packed with people Saturday morning, as they were getting registered and fueling up for what's to come.
Judy Listfield and her husband Joe drove their camper home from New Jersey all the way to Mason City to be a part of the walk because her son lives in North Iowa, along with his girlfriend and friend. She was diagnosed with MS in 1989, and is taking part in the event despite her limited mobility.
"I have a cane, mostly for balance, and I trip a lot because my legs don't move. My brain, my so called brain, doesn't transmit to my legs that well and sometimes I don't lift my legs enough," Listfield says.
Then they hit the pavement. This year's route would go from the mall through the downtown square to East Park.
Emily Byrne is the Walk MS manager for the Upper Midwest chapter of the National MS Society. She is amazed by the turnout, and is also impressed by those who come from all walks of life and strive towards one common goal.
"You go from vision loss to fatigue to maybe having some mobility issues, but you see everyone here all coming together, and they don't let MS stop them, and that's what's really inspiring to see," Byrne says.
In addition, the money the walks raise nationwide is making big strides for those with MS.
"In 1980, there were 0 drug therapy treatments for those living with multiple sclerosis. Today, there's actually 16. And just in the past year, we finally have a drug who are living with progressive MS, which is really thanks to these community walks, raising money...that money goes to that research," Byrne adds.
One thing that Listfield can count on is that she has plenty of people that support her.
"I'm lucky that I have an incredible support group, and my husband is always been there to support, my son and now his friends, and it's great to have that support and it helps," Listfield notes.
Mason City's event is one of more than 500 community walks that benefit the National MS Society. Rochester's Walk MS is set for May 5th.