Have you ever wanted to make a difference? Have you told yourself over and over again that the next time a charitable cause comes around, you’ll run the 5k or donate money? Well, if you have, your chance to finally give back is coming up with Walk MS 2013 in the Greater Los Angeles area on April 7.

“MS” stands for multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord, resulting in a loss of muscle control, vision, balance and sensation (numbness). It’s a frustrating disease, and the causes can range from genetics to possibly a person’s environment or even a virus. However, new treatments and advances in research are giving hope to those affected by the disease.

Walk MS is an organization with one overall goal: to bring people closer to a world free of multiple sclerosis. By participating in Walk MS, the funds you raise will ultimately help the 19,000 people who live with multiple sclerosis in Southern California and Nevada. With the Greater Los Angeles walk, they’re hopping to raise $1,045,000. So far, $144,875 has been achieved.

Here’s how it works: You can start a team, join a team or register as an individual to walk the 1 mile Family Fun Route or 5K (3.2 miles) route at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Registering for the walk is free; however, since it is a fundraiser, bringing a donation is always advisable.

Once you register for Walk MS online, you will receive a personal webpage that you can customize. Share with your family and friends the reasons why you are walking. This way, people can donate to you and Walk MS online or even volunteer.

For the actual walk, it’s popular for participants to form teams. When you form a team, which can be a group of coworkers, friends, fellow students, etc., you will all walk together on the day of Walk MS. Teams are encouraged because they raise more than 86 percent of the total money raised at Walk MS. Plus, they’re fun!

The walk is truly special; you feel a connection with those who are walking with you. Whether you, your mother, your father, your sister or brother is suffering from multiple sclerosis, chances are that most of the volunteers will be able to relate with you. At this fundraiser, you will feel support and camaraderie from all the walkers involved.

If you actually don’t have a connection with multiple sclerosis, volunteering is still something you should consider. After all, how often do you get the chance to directly make a difference in somebody’s life?

Walk MS: Greater Los Angeles 2013 takes place on Sunday, April 7 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. The event starts at 9:30 a.m. For more information and to register, click here.