Oregon has one of the highest incidence rates of multiple sclerosis in the country, according to the Oregon Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.




The Society reports that every hour in the United States, someone is newly diagnosed with MS, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. MS affects more than 400,000 people in the U.S., and 2.5 million worldwide.




The society &

which serves 7,000 individuals with MS and their families in Oregon and Clark County, Wash. &

will kick off its annual Walk MS Ashland event on Saturday, April 19.




Rain or shine, thousands of dedicated walkers and volunteers will take to the streets in 12 communities this season to raise funds and awareness in the movement toward a world free of multiple sclerosis.




"More than 4,500 walkers, volunteers and even furry friends are expected to join the movement of Walk MS," Virginia Silvey, Oregon Chapter President, said. "Funds raised will support direct services for the more than 7,000 individuals with MS and their families in Oregon and Clark County, Wash., and national MS research to find a cure."




In Ashland, the route starts and finishes Saturday, April 19, at the Historic Ashland Armory, 208 Oak St., and covers 5 kilometers. The race starts at 10 a.m., and registration begins one hour before the start time.




There is no registration fee for Walk MS and participants are asked to raise a minimum of $50 per person. Walkers can earn prizes for outstanding fundraising, starting with a T-shirt prize at the $50 level.




Some choose to enjoy the experience with family, friends and/or coworkers by forming Walk MS teams of four or more. Teams are eligible for separate and special recognition.




For more information or to preregister, visit or call (800) 344-4867. Walkers may register at any time, including the day of the event.