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Bring Your Voluntourism to Niagara Falls and Walk to Defeat MS

image001There’s a new trend in travel, and it combines seeing the world with volunteer work so that good deeds can be performed alongside any fun that’s had. Known as volunteer tourism or “voluntourism,” proponents of the practice claim to enjoy a more meaningful travel experience when volunteering as opposed to taking a more traditional approach, i.e. traveling to satisfy their own whims and wishes.

While Niagara Falls isn’t known as a hot bed for volunteer tourism, the city and region nevertheless do host regular events that visitors to Niagara could participate in if they wanted a more charitable experience. One such event is just around the corner: the Niagara Falls MS Walk.

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system that affects those who suffer from it in unpredictable, often disabling ways. Disrupting the flow of information between the body, spinal cord, and brain, MS can affect cognition, muscle control, memory, eyesight, and more, but everyone who suffers from it is affected differently.

While doctors still don’t know what causes it, research is continually being undertaken to find a cure. More than 400,000 people have been diagnosed with MS in the United States, and 200 new cases are diagnosed each week. In Canada, over 100,000 suffer from the disease, making it the country with the highest incidence rate of MS in the entire world.

MS Research Is Working for a Cure

image003Even with those numbers, there is much to be thankful for in the world of MS research. Decades of study have yielded increased understanding of the central nervous system and immune system. There are now 15 therapies approved for treating and managing MS, and more therapies are currently in development than at any time in the past.

Earlier diagnosis is becoming more common, so treatments and therapies can help affected individuals earlier, effectively slowing the disease’s advance. However, there is still no cure, and preventing MS is still a goal instead of a reality. It’s because of the significant progress that’s been made over the years along with the pressing need for that progress to yield more fruit that raising funds for MS research is so important, and because so many Canadians know someone who suffers from the disease, the MS Walk is an event that draws tens of thousands of participants across 160 different Canadian communities each and every year.

The walk is community-supported, family-friendly, and wheelchair-accessible. Walking routes are usually offered at different lengths so that anyone who wants to can participate. The Niagara Falls MS Walk is scheduled to take place on Sunday, May 3 at 9 a.m. with a check-in that starts at 7 a.m. Walkers can choose a 5k or 10k route. There are currently 18 teams and 129 walkers signed up to participate, although by the time the day of the walk arrives, that number will most likely be higher.

If you’re planning a trip to Niagara Falls, and you’d like to do a little voluntourism while you’re here, why not throw your hat into the ring, and join in raising funds and awareness to bring an end to MS, while enjoying a walk in our beautiful city.

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