CARLSBAD — Taking fate into her own hands, Encinitas resident Alison Billing plans to walk 50 miles in three days, Sept. 27 through Sept. 29 as part of an upcoming fundraising event for Multiple Sclerosis, just two years after her own diagnosis, the National MS Society’s Southern California Challenge Walk will begin early Sept. 27 at Carlsbad’s Flower Fields and end around noon Sept. 29 in downtown San Diego at Embarcadero Marina Park South.
The 28-year-old is a University of Hawaii alumni with a passion for aiding others and a major in marine biology. In 2011, Billing noticed odd symptoms including persistent nausea and vertigo overnight transitioning into tingling of the entire right side of her body. Her neurologist diagnosed Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a disabling disease of the central nervous system with no known cause, cure or prevention. She became involved with the National MS Society and learned about the Southern California Challenge Walk.
Without enough time to fundraise, Billing volunteered in the 2011 Challenge Walk instead and worked at rest stops along the route for a day to help encourage and aid walkers in any way. She immediately fell in love with the event and started brainstorming creative ways to raise money for the next year. To make the task fun, she hosted parties, like a Poker Tournament or a candle party. However, the biggest event Billing plans is a Grand Garage Sale with gifted items from family and friends throughout the community. Because items are donated, 100 percent of the earnings will go toward her fundraising efforts.
In preparation for the 2013 Challenge Walk, Billing held various events and gathered nearly $1,200 dollars toward her MS efforts. 2013 also marked the MS Society Charity Golf Tournament at the Lomas Santa Fe Country Club golf course. Billing worked with the golf resort to have donations included under the price of ticket admission for each of the 22 golfers, and consisted of a round of golf and donated raffle prizes.
In addition to becoming an advocate for the MS Society’s effort to find a cure for MS, Alison decided to go back to school to join the medical field as a Radiology Technician.
Challenge Walk information, as well as donations to walkers, can be made at MyMSChallenge.com.