A message for team captains

Written by on July 18, 2014 at 11:07 am

Hello, Captains!

Can you believe that the Challenge Walk Weekend is less than 2 months away?

Raising $1.1 million every year is no small feat, but you are no ordinary group of people. Not only have you committed to raising $1,500.00 and walking 50-miles in 3-days, but you have accepted the additional responsibility of leading your MS Challenge Walk Team in this fight against MS.

Challenge Walk is a fully supported event, and that support extends far past just the 3-days that we spend together. With everyone's fundraising in full swing, I wanted to take this opportunity to remind you that the Steering Committee is here to support you year round. We are committed to you and to the success of your team.

Do not hesitate to reach out to me, to the Steering Committee, or to Aileen Callahan at any time during your preparations for Challenge. Additionally, if you would like one of us to make outreach phone calls to any of your teammates, we are happy to do so.

Please also remember to advertise your fundraisers to your fellow walkers. Your teams hold such amazing fundraisers — and we want to attend them! Post your event on the Challenge Blog Calendar. Share the details on your Facebook profile (and ask your friends to re-share). These are all great tools for reaching our community.

Just a reminder – "Training Tuesdays", "Wisdom Wednesdays", and "Fundraising Fridays" are officially underway on the MS Challenge Walk Facebook Page. Be sure to like our Facebook page for these helpful tips.

Finally, don't underestimate the importance of training. We want to see your smiling faces under the Big Tent! Not under the Medical Tent…

Thank you all so much for your commitment to this cause. I am honored part of this event with you.

Every connection counts. Every step matters. Every dollar helps. Together, we are strong. Together, we WILL win this fight against MS.

With love,

Amy Scannell

Walker & Challenge Walk Steering Committee Co-Chair

Amy has been participating in the MS Challenge Walk since 2002, in honor of her father, who was diagnosed the year before.  In 2007, she joined the Steering Committee and currently serves as co-chair. She feels blessed to be accompanied by such an amazing group of people in this fight against MS.  Amy lives in Lowell, Massachusetts with her husband, son, and daughter.

Winners of the FUN in FUNdraising Week!

Written by on June 23, 2014 at 9:38 am

Did you know that by stepping up your fundraising efforts last week and reaching out to others through your participant center, you have raised an additional $5,300 for the Mission?

Did you know that your fundraising dollars support critical MS research and vital programs and services for people living with MS in our community?


…for making a difference. Every dollar we raise together through MS Challenge Walk has the power to change lives. Every connection counts.

Congratulations to our Challenge winners, who will each receive a reserved table in the front row for Friday Night’s Program:

  • Melissa DelPrete from Socks on Fi~yah
  • Paul Koehane from Wheels and Heels Against MS
  • Cyndie Seavey from Cyndie’s Angels
  • Lisa Rolfe from Blister Buddies
  • Paul Laporte from American Dream Team

Aileen is the Development Manager for the Greater New England Chapter of the National MS Society responsible for the 2013 Challenge Walk. She has interned with the National MS Society at the Greater Delaware Valley Chapter with Program Events and is looking forward to working closely with the Steering Committee and Challenge Walk Teams to make this year's MS Challenge Walk a memorable one!

Another spring — time to kickstart my fundraising

Written by on June 5, 2014 at 6:23 pm

Okay, I know what you are going to say. And you're right: I should be fundraising all year long in preparation for the MS Challenge Walk. When I was on staff at the Greater New England Chapter and overseeing the MS Challenge Walk, I couldn't fathom why a person would wait till the spring to start their fundraising for the September event. But here I am, starting in spring.

I have enjoyed getting back into the swing of my team's fundraising efforts. My focus for this year was to create an informative, personal, and meaningful solicitation message for 2014. In addition, I am attempting to send as many 1:1 emails as possible to past donors and new friends/colleagues that I might solicit for the National MS Society. Simply, this means that I will be sending out more emails and personalizing them as much as possible to better target the donor.

Here is the trick, though: to really reach, connect, and engage a friend to give to the National MS Society, I need to think about how that person will mentally and emotionally receive what I've written, and what part of my family's MS journey is important to them.

For example, when I had a significant MS attack last August, many friends reached out to show support and hear how I was doing. Well, you better believe that in this year's solicitation message to those folks, I will highlight what we went through together last summer as a motivator to stay involved. Other friends like to discuss the impact that research will have on eradicating multiple sclerosis. For those people, I'll have to work in a few points about the cutting edge research done through the National MS Society.

Given my work schedule, I tend to send my NMSS solicitations in the evening. Being tired after a long day, it is hard for me to avoid sending out one email to a group of people for the sake of efficiency and time. But I find when I send out the 1:1 solicitation emails that the response rate and dollars donated are higher.

How is your fundraising going this year? On behalf of the MS Challenge Walk Steering Committee, might we be of service in any way to you or your team?

Todd, formerly the Director of Development for the Greater New England Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, is now the the Regional Director of FAS Capital Giving at Harvard University. In addition to reading his blog posts, you can also find Todd on Twitter.

This is why we volunteer

Written by on May 23, 2014 at 12:42 pm

All of us who volunteer or raise money for the National MS Society do so because we usually have a connection with a family member or friend who has MS. My connection is my brother-in-law John.

John Scannell

Mike Kizner (left) finds inspiration in his brother-in-law, John Scannell.

John was nearing fifty years of age when he first noticed changes with his vision and other telltale signs that he knew were out of the ordinary. Thirteen years ago, John was diagnosed with MS, which over the years has developed into secondary-progressive. When flairs do occur, the recovery is usually not complete, so permanent disabilities accumulate. Through the years, John has become more dependent on leg braces, walkers and occasionally wheelchairs. He does not look for sympathy or complain about these daily challenges but instead lives each day with his head held high.

Although John won't be able to run the 100-yard dash, that has not stopped him from keeping his spirits high with the hope that soon we will find a cure that ends MS forever.

Mike has been involved with MS Challenge Walk since 2004. His connection to MS is with his brother-in-law, who was diagnosed in 2000. Mike has been a crew member and Team Lead with the Activity Tent and supports the Falmouth (ME) office, where he coordinates their yearly Plane Pull event. In 2013, Mike will be helping the Lunch Bunch Crew under the watchful eyes of his wife Sharon, who is Crew Leader.

Challenge Walk MS Updates for May

Written by on May 21, 2014 at 4:05 pm

Dear Challenge Walkers,

Can you believe it? Memorial Day Weekend is upon us! And really, I am so happy it is. I know we have all had a tough winter, so let's celebrate this great weather by getting out and about by walking in this nice weather!

Make sure your check out the training schedule in our guide if you have not done so yet. Share your training experience with your friends and family too! They may join you on a walk, donate to your hard work and efforts, or even sign up for Challenge Walk MS with you!

How is your training going? Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns. I would love to hear your story on why you walk.

Fundraising Guide – check it out! There may be some more tips in here that you haven't tried yet. There are also some other great suggestions on our website here.

Have you heard the news? We have a new BONUS BUCKS incentive for new 2014 Challenge Walkers! This is a special offer from our Challenge Walk MS Steering Committee to help with this year's recruitment. All new walkers that sign up during the month of May receive an extra $500 in Bonus Bucks towards their fundraising goal of $1,500. Encourage your friends and family who are on the fence about registering by giving them this incentive. Use "ETC50" as a registration code to take $50 off their registration fee and to enroll in this special offer.

Congratulations to our top teams (so far):

  1. The Lombardi Party – $13,240
  2. Cocktails for a Cure – $13,050
  3. The Believers – $5,519
  4. Sock on Fi-yah – $5,410
  5. Tommy's Team – $4,500

Kudos to our Top Individual Fundraisers:

  1. Tom Olafsson – $4,500
  2. Kevin Lombardi – $4,155
  3. James Derick – $4,000
  4. Amy Scannell – $3,385
  5. Ann Scannell – $3,310

Need advice or want to talk about your fundraising? Let me know! I would be happy to help and we have a great team of mentors on the Steering Committee who are all experts in different areas of raising money.

Enjoy the long weekend and let's get out walking!

Aileen is the Development Manager for the Greater New England Chapter of the National MS Society responsible for the 2013 Challenge Walk. She has interned with the National MS Society at the Greater Delaware Valley Chapter with Program Events and is looking forward to working closely with the Steering Committee and Challenge Walk Teams to make this year's MS Challenge Walk a memorable one!

Challenge Walk MS training has begun!

Written by on May 7, 2014 at 12:42 pm

We are officially 18 weeks out from the Challenge Walk MS weekend which means…Challenge Walk MS training has begun! Like the MS Challenge Walk Cape Cod facebook page to get the weekly updates of your training schedule on Training Tuesdays! Post pictures or updates about your training onto the page as well.

Training is such an important element in the preparation for the Challenge Walk MS weekend. Make this a commitment for yourself and reserve time in your schedule for these walks. Don’t forget to check out our Fundraising and Training Guide for 2014 for more tips!

Pre-Walk Warm-Up Routine

Before you start walking, it is important to warm up first. Increasing the temperature in your muscles and joints and increasing blood flow will make you more comfortable when you exercise and reduce the risk of injury.

Below are a few easy warm-up moves that target the muscles you use most during walking. You can do them all in a standing position and the entire routine should take only three minutes.

  1. Ankle circles. Standing on one foot, lift the other leg off the ground in front of you. Slowly flex that ankle through its full range of motion, making circles with the toes. Do 6 to 8 circles then reverse the direction of your circle and do 6 to 8 more. Switch feet and repeat.
  2. Leg swings. Standing on one leg, swing the other leg loosely from the hip in a front to back motion. Keep it relaxed and unforced like the swinging of a pendulum. Your foot should swing no higher than a foot or so off the ground. Do 15 to 20 swings on each leg.
  3. Figure-8 leg swings. Just like the leg swings above, swing one leg from the hip in a front to back motion, but this time, trace a figure-8 with your leg. Your leg should trace a circle in front of the body and another circle behind. Do 15 to 20 swings on each leg.
  4. Pelvic loops. Stand with your hands on your hips, your knees gently bent, and your feet hip-width apart. Keep your body upright and make 10 slow, continuous circles with your hips, pushing them gently forward, to the left, back and to the right. Then reverse directions and repeat.
  5. Arm circles. Hold both arms straight out to your sides, making yourself into the letter T. Make 10 to 12 slow backward circles with your hands, starting small and finishing with large circles, using your entire arm. Shake out your arms, then repeat with 10 to 12 forward circles.
  6. Hula-hoop jumps. Begin hopping in place on both feet. Keep your head and shoulders facing forward, and begin to twist your feet and lower body left, then right, going back and forth on successive hops, 20 times.  Source: http://www.pbs.org/americaswalking/health/healthprewalk.html

Thank you all for your commitment to training and towards creating a world free of MS. Let’s get moving!

Aileen is the Development Manager for the Greater New England Chapter of the National MS Society responsible for the 2013 Challenge Walk. She has interned with the National MS Society at the Greater Delaware Valley Chapter with Program Events and is looking forward to working closely with the Steering Committee and Challenge Walk Teams to make this year's MS Challenge Walk a memorable one!

Share a selfie for MS Awareness

Written by on March 4, 2014 at 10:48 am

During MS Awareness Week, March 3–9, let's band together and wear our National MS Society apparel for social media solidarity!

Snap a "selfie" showing your orange — maybe it's a Walk MS t-shirt, or a Bike MS jersey, or even an orange bracelet or bandana – and share your pictures on the National MS Society, Greater New England Chapter's Facebook/Twitter accounts.


  • Check out the MS New England homepage and join our social media sites (Facebook and/or Twitter).
  • Snap a "selfie" wearing your National MS Society apparel and orange! If you happen to meet up with or a team member, take a photo of the two of you or with your entire group! You can make the photo as creative as you like!
  • Post the picture to your social media sites and spread the awareness of multiple sclerosis.
    • Facebook — post the picture on National MS Society Greater, New England Chapter's Facebook page and use #wearMSswag. Tag the location of any events you participate in too like MS Challenge Walk Cape Cod!
    • Twitter – tweet @MS_GreaterNewEngland and use #wearMSswag.

Please share this initiative with your team members, family, and friends. Let's see how many posts we can get to spread the awareness of multiple sclerosis next week!

Looking forward to seeing all of your faces next week!

Aileen is the Development Manager for the Greater New England Chapter of the National MS Society responsible for the 2013 Challenge Walk. She has interned with the National MS Society at the Greater Delaware Valley Chapter with Program Events and is looking forward to working closely with the Steering Committee and Challenge Walk Teams to make this year's MS Challenge Walk a memorable one!

MS Challenge Walk 2014 promo

Written by on February 28, 2014 at 10:27 am

The MS Challenge Walk is a difficult experience to capture. How do you explain to someone what would make you walk fifty miles — not just one year, but every year? How do you put into words the hope and love that come with strained muscles and flowing tears? It doesn't make sense, and it's almost impossible to convey.

Yet just as we set out to do the impossible by walking fifty miles, so too does the crew of Red Dirt Productions tackle the challenging task of capturing and sharing the experience. For years, Brenda Neary and her crew have come to Cape Cod to volunteer their video production skills to produce commercials based on our walk. They have now unveiled their promotion for MS Challenge Walk 2014:

Three minutes may be the perfect length for the more attentive television generation, but in this age of tweets and Facebook posts, it may tax one's attention span. So here's a 30-second version:

Please share this video on Facebook or put it on Twitter to tell all your friends about this amazing experience!

Ken, an Arlington resident, joined the MS Challenge Walk in 2005, more than a decade after his mother was diagnosed. After walking for three years and 150 miles, he switched to the support crew and now rides his bicycle along the trail, providing whatever encouragement (and snacks!) he can to the 600 walkers. He is also an alumnus of the event's steering committee and is this site's webmaster.