Walking for the weekend

MARSHALL – Going for a walk isn’t high on most people’s lists of things to do on a chilly, wet day. Participants in two different fundraiser walks this weekend did it anyway, arriving at registration tables with plenty of extra clothing layers, hats and blankets.

“It was cold when we started out,” said Kary Boerboom, as she paused at the midway point of the Walk MS event in Marshall on Sunday.

“You get warmer as you walk,” added Carolyn Boerboom, one of Kary’s teammates for the walk.

One day earlier, participants at the March for Babies walk had the option to stay inside at Marshall Middle School, although a few people chose the outdoor walk route. No matter the conditions, walkers said their goals were the same – to show support for others.

The March for Babies, held across Minnesota on Saturday, is an event that raises funds for the March of Dimes. The March of Dimes helps to provide medical treatments and other support for babies who are born premature, or have other health needs.

Walking teams from around southwest Minnesota attended Saturday’s event. Several of the groups were named after loved ones. Craig Hebrink, a Sacred Heart resident, said his family had participated in the walk for the past four years.

“It’s just a good cause,” Hebrink said. “Being a grandparent and seeing what can be done to care for these little ones, it’s incredible.”

Craig Hebrink said his grandsons Harrison and Hudson Hebrink were born premature. Hudson benefited from care pioneered by the March of Dimes. Harrison didn’t survive, Hebrink said, but taking part in the walk is one way the family honors his memory.

Ashley Haack said the cause was a good reason to join in the March for Babies. She was participating in the walk along with team members representing the Hendricks hospital.

“I think it’s a way to give back to the community,” said team member Storm Rzaszutak.

The Walk MS event, held Sunday at Independence Park in Marshall, raises money for medical research and programs to help people with multiple sclerosis. Although this year’s walk was all outdoors in drizzly conditions, organizers said more than 100 people had preregistered for it. More signed up on the day of the walk.

Many participants said they were walking to show support for friends and loved ones with MS. K.C. Boerboom said she and her teammates were taking part in honor of her dad, Brad Boerboom.

“We wanted to start small, but we have big plans for next year,” Carolyn Boerboom said of their team. The Boerbooms said participating in the walk was also a way to give back. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, which holds the Walk MS event, has been a source of support and information for their family, they said.

Several other teams participating in the Walk MS event have made it a tradition. Members of the Leibfried family said they’ve been part of the walk for about seven years. Laura Leibfried said it was a way to show support for her sister, Lisa, who was diagnosed with MS at the age of 17.

“(The walk) is important to show support, and it helps get the word out there. We want to cure this someday,” Leibfried said.