Live tweeting MS Challenge Walk 2014

Written by on September 4, 2014 at 9:00 am

For the fourth consecutive year, walker and committee member Jennifer Yates will be live-tweeting the MS Challenge Walk Cape Cod. Her tweets and several other walkers' and volunteers' will appear on our Twitter landing page.

Share this weekend's experience with a friend and invite them to live the Challenge vicariously by following along with our tweets! Here's the link:

The tweets will also appear live on our Facebook page, so feel free to follow along there if you prefer:

Are you a Twitter or Instagram user? Want to get in on the action? Use hashtag #MSChallengeCapeCod!

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.

Botox for MS: Not your usual fundraiser

Written by on September 3, 2014 at 9:00 am

When you're a dermatologist and your beloved sister gets multiple sclerosis, what do you do?

If you're Dr. Jim Campbell, you give out free units of Botox(TM) for a donation to the National MS Society.

"It's a complete win for everybody," said Campbell.

The Dover, NH, dermatologist held four of these "unusual" fundraisers recently at his business, Dermatology and Skin Health. The money raised went to his team, Minion Milers, in the upcoming MS Challenge Walk on Cape Cod.

Campbell said the idea for the fundraiser came out of a "fatigue" for fundraisers.

"We do so many fundraisers [each year]. You hate asking [people] every five minutes for money," he said.

So, Campbell thought, why not give people what they are looking for at a reduced price, in exchange for money that will help people with MS? He got his distributors to donate the product, and he and his staff donated their time; that way, all the money raised went to help people with MS.

Jim Campbell

Jim Campbell (center) with two of his teammates.

Campbell said it wasn't a difficult to get distributors to give him the product for free.

"I do enough business with them," he said laughing.

At each of the fundraisers, people lined up for the chance to save about $100–$150 off the usual cost of the wrinkle treatment. It was a huge success! Campbell raised between $2,000 and $3,000 dollars each night, bringing his team total to more than $20,000.

For Campbell, it's a chance to use his professional skills to help his sister and others who live with this disease that has no known cause or cure.

"I have the opportunity to do this and that makes me feel good," said Campbell.

Eileen is a Media Relations Specialist for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Greater New England Chapter.

MS has given him more than it's taken

Written by on September 2, 2014 at 3:57 pm

Tom Olafsson of Brookline considers himself a very lucky man — despite the fact he has an incurable disease that has required him to have more than 8,000 injections over the past decade.

"Overall, I am a lucky one. I am doing okay," said Olafsson.

Tom has multiple sclerosis. He was diagnosed with the unpredictable and often disabling disease in 2004. MS has affected his vision and balance, but overall, Tom feels he's been able to manage his MS.

"I made sure to fight once the initial diagnosis was digested," he recalled. "I got in better shape. I eat better… I have MS but I will continue to battle the best I can."

Nine years ago, he heard about the MS Challenge Walk on Cape Cod: 50 miles over three days. He and his wife Louise signed up. "At the time I felt stuck in my own body and thought the walk would be good for me to do. That is now quite an understatement," he said.

Tom and his wife said the experience seeing hundreds of people walking in support of people with MS "blew them away." Since then, more and more family members have joined their team.

This weekend, Tommy's Team will take part in the 13th annual MS Challenge Walk on Cape Cod — and with every step, Olafsson will count his blessings.

He has the love and support of his wife of nearly 27 years; he has four terrific daughters, one of whom is flying from her home in Spain to walk Challenge; and he sees the positive in everything, including his MS.

Tom Olafsson

Tom Olafsson with his wife Louise and one of their four daughters.

"MS has given me more than it has taken away. All those walkers have given me so much. Seeing all the people … on Sunday makes me want to thank each and every one of them.

Truly, a lucky man.

Eileen is a Media Relations Specialist for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Greater New England Chapter.

We are two weeks away!

Written by on August 22, 2014 at 12:23 pm

All Aboard, Challenge Walkers!

We are officially 2 weeks out! Try to think back on all the hours of training you've completed and all your efforts in fundraising to fight MS. The Challenge Walk MS weekend is the culmination of a tremendous amount of work and a celebration of all that we have accomplished together.

As event weekend quickly approaches, we are putting the finishing touches on all details. Please let the Challenge Walk MS Team know if you need any last-minute fundraising help or have any lingering questions about the weekend. We look forward to seeing you all very soon.

Thursday Night Early Check-In Party

For those of you arriving to the Cape early, please join us on Thursday night at the Cape Codder Resort in Hyannis for an early check-in party.  Pick up your walker/crew credentials and sign the appropriate waiver forms, and meet other walkers and crew!  Enjoy delicious catering and celebrate the start of a great weekend. The festivities begin are from 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm. We hope to see you there.

For arrival information and instructions, please see the Travel & Information Guide.

Please note – housing at the Sea Camps is for Friday & Saturday night only. If you're attending the Thursday night early check-in party, you must make your own accommodation arrangements.

Reminder — Travel Guide

Our Travel and Information Guide has all of the who/what/where's of the 2014 Challenge Walk MS.  Use this guide to find directions to the Kalmus Beach Parking Area in Hyannis (where all walkers and crew park their cars for the weekend).  The guide also has useful information on packing and the weekend schedule. To download this document, click here.

Last Minute Fundraising Notes

We are striving to reach our goal of over $1 million dollars this year for the MS Challenge Walk. Donations are coming in online and through the mail every day and will continue to do so after the walk. But, we need your continued efforts to ensure we hit this mark. Are there friends and family members who have promised to donate but have yet to do so? We encourage you to send them and email or letter reminding them of their pledge. We need all Challenge Walkers to reach their fundraising goals so that together we can all continue to create a world free of MS. If you are having troubles reaching your goal, please do not hesitate to contact the Challenge Walk MS Team and we can work together to find the best fundraising methods for you. All team and individual top fundraising prizes will be for the donations that have come in as of Wednesday, Sept. 3rd. Send in those checks!!

From Crew Member to Super Crew

We are encouraging all crew members at the Challenge Walk to become a member of the Super Crew. A member of the Super Crew is someone who raises at least $200 for the Challenge Walk MS. Last year, crew members raised over $50,000 for the MS Challenge Walk. Members of the Super Crew will receive a Super Crew cap and 2014 pin to commemorate their success. As of right now, we only have a handful of Super Crew and would like to add more, so please send in your donations!

Congratulations to our top teams (to date):

  1. The Lombardi Party – $30,072
  2. Feet 2 DeFeat MS – $26,228
  3. Cocktails for a Cure – $ 21,954
  4. MS Action Heroes – $21,448
  5. Linda’s Legacy – $15,956

Kudos to our Top Individual Fundraisers (to date):

  1. Tom Olafsson – $10,931
  2. Sue Carrai – $7,830
  3. Barbara Johnson – $7,660
  4. Joan Kaplan – $7,640
  5. Kathy Smith – $6,468

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!

Walking together: A family affair

Written by on August 20, 2014 at 8:27 am

When Patty Seaburg of Littleton, MA, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at the age of 29, she turned to her boyfriend right then and there in the hospital and gave him an out.

"I told him… you can get out at any time—you don't have to do this," she recalled.

How did Mark, her high school sweetheart, respond?

"He basically told me I was crazy."

That was three years ago, and they have just celebrated their one year wedding anniversary. Mark proposed to Patty a couple days after they completed their first Cape Cod Challenge Walk in September 2012.

"It meant more that he did it after I was diagnosed," she said.

MS didn't keep the couple from celebrating their love and getting married, and it isn't keeping them from taking part in their third Challenge Walk together, September 5–7.

Patty Seaburg

Patty and Mark took the challenge—together.

Patty said it's truly a "family affair" with her mom, one of her sisters, and her sister-in-law walking with her and Mark team The Walka Walka Walkahs! Another sister holds a huge fundraiser each year for their team, while still another sister is part of the volunteer crew that supports the walk. Her brother helps with the fundraising events, and her father, whom she calls her "rock", has volunteered as well.

All this family support is vital to get her through the challenge of walking 50 miles over the course of three days.

"It means everything to me," she said. "It's amazing and makes me feel loved."

Patty's commitment to the cause has grown beyond subjecting her feet to the rigors of the walk; she's also joined the Challenge Walk Steering Committee, helping to plan this huge event.

"She's very dedicated to making this event a success," said Aileen Callahan, Development Manager for Greater New England chapter of the National MS Society.

Patty said seeing hundreds of other walkers taking on the Challenge, many of them also living with MS, bolsters her spirits.

"It's uplifting… It makes you feel not as alone."

Patty will never be alone, not with a husband who never flinched, and a family determined to stand and walk beside her.

Eileen is a Media Relations Specialist for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Greater New England Chapter.

Challenge Walk MS 2014 theme announced

Written by on July 30, 2014 at 7:57 pm

It's hard to believe that Challenge is less than two months away! I know that everyone has been working hard at their training and their fundraising and we have been working hard at organizing lots of fun for all of our walkers! On Friday, our Walk theme is "Around the World in Three Days". You will get a chance to visit Italy, Germany, and France to name but a few of the countries you will see that weekend. Experience and enjoy food and drink from around world! As one of your emcees for Friday night, I have couple of things up my sleeve to make our program even more enjoyable and entertaining for you!

On Saturday we will all be showing how hard we are working toward fight MS by wearing our orange all day. Shirts, shoes, bandanas, hair — wear orange in any way you can think of to show our support for the cause and for the pride we have for working so hard year after year fighting this battle.

I can't wait to see everyone!

Jill lives in East Taunton with her husband and a very annoying cat. She was diagnosed with MS in 1998 when she was 24. She has been participating in the Challenge Walk since the beginning as a crew member and can also be found at many other fundraising events.

When superheroes walk

Written by on July 28, 2014 at 4:56 pm

Sarah Jacoby of South Hero, Vermont, is very open about her multiple sclerosis — but when it comes to her blisters, she hides them like a teenager with a pimple on prom night.

"I don't show them to the medical team because I'm afraid they'll tell me I can't walk!" exclaimed Jacoby.

By walk, she means taking part in the three-day, 50-mile Walk MS: Cape Cod Challenge.

"You gotta be a little crazy to do this to yourself, but it's worth it!"

Despite having MS, an often times disabling disease, and pushing 70 years old, Jacoby has walked the Cape Cod Challenge every year since its inception in 2002. That first year, she walked as an individual, but over the years her family and friends have joined her.

"I had family members that came down [to the Cape] to watch everybody walk in [to the finish] and they got hooked with that," she said.

Now, her team, MS Action Heroes, is 15 members strong and includes Sarah's grand-niece and grand-nephew. Also joining her is her friend Bonnie, who also lives with MS. The team has raised a total of nearly $80,000 to fund research and services for people with MS, like Sarah.

"I think the big thing [for me] is raising money for the research. I think that's so important. There are so many people worse off than I am with it, so I hope someday we find a cure."

This September 5–7, Sarah and her team will join hundreds of other people in Walk MS: Cape Cod Challenge Walk 2014, sponsored by EMD Serono/Pfizer. It begins and ends in Hyannis. Learn more about Challenge or to make a donation online.

Sarah will be a featured speaker at the program Saturday night (Sep 6) that accompanies a Candlelight Vigil for Hope with people with MS.

Sarah admits she's a bit behind in her training this year because she spent 11 days in the hospital this spring with a problem with her appendix, but she's fought through monster blisters —so a little surgery won't keep her from taking on the Challenge.

Eileen is a Media Relations Specialist for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Greater New England Chapter.

How to get your story in your local paper

Written by on July 25, 2014 at 4:42 pm

Want to get the word out in your area about the Challenge Walk? It's not as hard as you may think — just follow this handy list:

  • Make a list of your city/town and surrounding towns.
  • Google the names/websites of each newspaper.
  • Write a short letter about the Challenge Walk. Include the dates, start and finish places and information about the route, i.e. walking on the Cape Cod Rail Trail and the beauty of Coast Guard Beach.
  • Say why you are participating, why fundraising for MS is important to you, etc. Be sure to include a picture of you wearing MS apparel. Tell people how they can contribute; include the link to your personal MS page. Mention that they can volunteer for one day or all three days.
  • If you really want to be thorough, call and ask for the editor first. I found everyone to be receptive and helpful.
  • Everyone likes a human interest story. By printing your letter, they are helping to spread awareness and raise funds for vital research. I received a couple of online donations from people I did not know, who had personal connections to MS!

    By following these steps, I got my story printed in Middlesex East, the paper of my town, Woburn. You can read "Woburn's Carrai walks for MS" online.

    For more tips, check out the Publicity Tools section of the Challenge Walk MS website, or read our other publicity tips.

    Good luck! See you in September!

    Sue has been an MS Challenge Walker since 2003. She began her journey with MS in honor of two good friends who were diagnosed with MS in the early 1980s; since then, the list of people she proudly walks for has grown.  Sue is committed to continue her fundraising efforts for as long as it takes.  She has made lifelong friends at MS Challenge Walk and looks forward to spending one weekend each September with the ladies of Cabin 56! Sue works for UBS Financial Services in Boston and is a professional violinist. She lives in Woburn, MA, with her son, Nathan.