NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY)– For the first time since 2019, community members gathered in person for back-to-back Walk MS events in Hampton Roads.

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On Saturday, hundreds of people came together in Newport News City for the first Walk MS event.

President of the National MS Society Virginia and West Virginia Chapter, Sherri Ellis says the event brought in $67,000. All that funding goes to research for a cure and create new medications to treat Multiple Sclerosis.

“It is going to accelerate the work we do for people living with MS and the people who take care of them. Helping them with their financial needs of maybe a home improvement or van making it more accessible,” said Ellis.

Newport News resident Renee Chang came ready to walk not because of her personal journey, but to show someone close to her she’s there.

“To support my best friend who has MS. She needs to the support, everybody who has MS needs the support, so we got the extra legs for them today,” said Chang.

Ellis says fundraising and awareness steps like this have allowed medical professionals to do more research in the last five years than in the 70 years before that. She says nearly a million people in the U.S are diagnosed with MS.

“It’s days like today that we see we’re not alone in this journey and no one needs to be alone when we live with MS,” said Ellis.

On Sunday, 10 On Your Side gathered for the Walk MS event in Virginia Beach. WAVY’s involvement with the National MS Society began a decade ago when morning anchor Katie Collett was diagnosed with MS.

WAVY’s team, the WAVY Warriors, raised $31,566. That is a team record and launched them to the top fundraising team for the Virginia Beach event.

More than 1,000 people were gathered behind Katie and her family as they cut the banner to kick off the walk.

Altogether, the walk raised more than $100,000. That brings the two-day, two-event total to more than $173,000.