Lace up those tennis shoes

t Walk MS overtakes Klahowya

April 12.

Green and white paper shoes line the wall behind the counter of Sun Prairie Trading Co.

Co-owner Robin Long hopes the colorful display will get people to lace up their tennis shoes for a good cause next weekend.

Long and her mother, Karen Curtis, own Sun Prairie Trading Co. in Kitsap Mall of Silverdale and are joining in the fight against multiple sclerosis. The mother-daughter duo is raising money for the National MS Society by selling paper shoes for $1 each and recruiting walkers for their Walk MS team, “prairie girls walk in the sun.”

“We’ve sold way more shoes this year,” Long said. “We’ve been doing well with those.”

Long and her mother are directly affected by MS; their brother/son was diagnosed with MS several years ago.

“Unless he told you, you wouldn’t know,” Long said. “He doesn’t let it stop him.”

Long’s brother, Miles, is a cattle rancher in Eastern Washington. He takes various medications and travels to the University of Washington once a year for an annual checkup.

“He’s doing OK, he doesn’t have the real progressive form,” Long said. “It has affected his vision, his balance ... .”

Long said she is participating in Walk MS April 12 at Klahowya Secondary School and actively recruits others to donate to the cause because MS is “a frustrating disease” and she knows firsthand what it can do to an individual and his or her family.

“It’s just such a cruel disease. You just don’t know when it’s going to hit. It’s different from person to person,” she said. “(My brother) is a young father of two and has his whole life ahead of him. When you have somebody close to you (with MS), you don’t want anyone to go through that.”

Long said Sun Prairie currently has 17 members on its Walk MS team, but she’s hoping to have at least 20. Last year, Sun Prairie Trading Co. raised more than $2,000 from selling shoes and participating in Walk MS. National MS Society walks and events last year netted more than $1 million for the society.

“We hoped to raise $1.8 million in Western and Central Washington last year but we exceeded that,” Long said.

Aside from selling shoes and recruiting walk participants, Sun Prairie Trading Co. is giving back in yet another way. All of Sun Prairie’s profits on the day of the walk are going to the National MS Society.

“One of the big things is all of our profits on Saturday are going to the MS walk,” Long said. “(People) can feel good about those purchases.”

The 2.8-mile walk at Klahowya is suitable for people of all ages. The walk is good for children, senior citizens and is even wheelchair accessible.

“It’s great for anybody,” Long said. “It’s quite a hubbub up there at Klahowya.”

Dale Robinson, co-chair of the Silverdale Walk MS planning committee, said about 360 people participated in last year’s walk, raising about $70,000. He said event organizers are hoping to have more than 425 walk participants bring in $90,000 for the National MS Society this year.

“We try to bill it as a fun event, we make it very family oriented,” he said.

Robinson said there are about 450 people in Kitsap County who have MS and “well over 600 people with MS” in Kitsap, Jefferson and Mason counties.

Humble Pie Catering is volunteering its time during the walk to serve soups, sandwiches and cookies to participants. A professional DJ and MC will be on hand and the Kitsap BlueJackets mascot is scheduled to make an appearance, as well.

All walk participants will receive a raffle ticket which makes them eligible to win various door prizes at the end of the day’s festivities.

“Everybody who walks get a raffle ticket and it’s amazing, everybody loves doing that and we just enjoy doing it,” Robinson said.

Anyone interested in joining the Sun Prairie Walk MS team or donating money to the National MS Society can stop in Sun Prairie Trading Co. for more information or visit the National MS Society’s Web site at People also can register at Klahowya the day of the walk.

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