PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Thousands came out to support the annual Walk MS event in downtown Pittsburgh Sunday morning.

Walkers participated in either a 1-mile or 5K route before enjoying live music and activities at Point State Park. The Pennsylvania Keystone Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society, who organized the event, hoped to raise around $400,000 this year.

The event not only raised funds and awareness for the disease, but also provided a fun event for those affected by MS and helped to show them how much support they have.

“I just got diagnosed with [MS], so I’m kind of new to everything,” Aerionia Adams of Weirton, W.Va., said. “So it’s neat to see all these people and see how they get together.”

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Dr. Rock Heyman, who serves on the National MS Society regional board of trustees, says the event helps to raise money for research into new treatments for MS, and a significant part of the money raised also goes to support people with MS who have needs not met by traditional insurance, such as special medical equipment.

Heyman added that research for MS has led to new medicines that help control symptoms of the disease and current researchers are working to try to find ways to repair the damage MS causes.

“Seeing the fantastic number of people who have come out to support people with MS is very encouraging for those just newly diagnosed as well as those people who have been battling MS for 30 or 40 years,” Heyman said.

“I think [the Walk MS event] is important because it spreads awareness and hopefully one day we can find a cure for this disease,” Madison Strohl from Pittsburgh said. “And for everybody to see that they’re not alone and that there’s a big support system beyond their families and friends.”

Strohl, who has MS, said receiving her diagnosis was “devastating,” not just for herself, but for her friends and family, too. But seeing all of the people at the event gives her hope.

“It makes me feel incredibly blessed and that everything’s gonna be okay,” she said.