LAKE IN THE HILLS – Katie Parkhurst’s family has been touched by multiple sclerosis. First her uncle, Bob Thornton, died of MS. Now her cousin, Marylynn Layman of Cary lives with the condition.
So Parkhurst, of McHenry, wants to help those dealing with the disease.
For the eighth consecutive year. Parkhurst and her family members will walk in the annual Walk MS event.
The event will be at 9 a.m. Sunday at Sunset Park. It is one of 11 sites around the state for the annual walk, which raises money for research in to multiple sclerosis, finding a cure and developing medication.
The event will benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Greater Illinois Chapter.
“It’s one of our largest fundraisers,” said Kelley Moran, who is a marketing and community engagement associate for the MS society.
So far the Lake in the Hills event has raised more than $64,000 for this year, with more expected to come in on Sunday, Moran said.
“Usually the weather is getting nicer and people are getting outside,” Moran said. “Hopefully we’ll have some good weather and sun.”
The event includes two routes: a 1-mile route and a 2.4-mile route.
For Parkhurst and her family, dealing with MS was difficult.
For many years Thornton had symptoms, but it took awhile to figure what was going on, Parkhurst said.
Once he was diagnosed with MS, “it took awhile for our family to accept it and how to best deal with it,” Parkhurst said.
Parkhurst, who works as a planner for the village of Algonquin, said Layman was diagnosed more than 10 years ago but still can walk. However, when Layman participates in the walk, she uses a wheelchair.
In fact, Laymen’s family members take turns pushing her around in the wheelchair during the walk, Parkhurst said.
“It’s important to me to spend time with her,” Parkhurst said. “It reaffirms why I’m doing [the walk].”
Parkhurst said people still can attend even if they’re not registered. The event is a way to bond with the community and see the support network of people who have been affected by MS.
“To me, the walk is very heartfelt,” Parkhurst said. “It’s joyous how many people are there to support MS [research], and sobering. There’s so many people there who know someone with MS.”
The Walk MS event is scheduled for 9 a.m. Sunday at Sunset Park at Albrecht and Miller roads in Lake in the Hills. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m.
For information, visit walkmsillinois.org.