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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.

Yard sale adventures

Written by on July 11, 2011 at 8:00 am

Awhile back, our friendly neighborhood weatherman predicted a nice weekend. Warm, but not too hot; a chance of a few thunderstorms; and oh, a ginormous yard sale in East Taunton.

The two days of our fundraising yard sale are always interesting. Last year's was held in the rain; this year, we endured acaterpillar invasion. They were everywhere — and I do mean EVERYWHERE. I spent most of the day walking around the sale doing my part to save the trees by squishing the caterpillars. I must have stepped on five hyndred of them, with my sister laughing at me every time I squished another one.

To hold these yard sales, we have braved monsoons (or at least it felt like one), blazing hot temperatures, the aforementioned caterpillars, and lots and lots of crazy people. But we have also had some really great stuff come out of it as well. Years ago, three neighbors we had never met came over to help; now they help out each year. The bikers from the "social club" lend us tables and check in to see how things are going.

One full garage

That's one full garage!

As you can see from the photo to the right (click for a larger view), the garage this year was filled to the brim with donations for the sale. Deirdre had to crawl out of the garage when we had packed almost everything in and then we filled up even that small space. I really hope that we do not need to get to the electrical panel in the back of the garage before the sale. If we do, we may be sitting in the dark for a few days!

In the end, it was all worth it. We saw plenty of friendly faces, turned one person's trash into another person's treasure — and, best of all, we raised $1,100!

Interested in holding your own yard sale? Read this checklist for tips to get you started.

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.

My version of crew training

Written by on August 13, 2010 at 12:06 pm

Wow! Only a month until the MS Challenge Walk. I better start doing some training.

Crew training, that is. There's the official training session that the chapter just held, but I'm referring to the training that we all do on our own. Here's how I recommend my fellow crew members prepare for the big event:

  1. Rest your vocal cords for the next month. Keep talking to an absolute minimum, because you are going to need all your cheering volume when the walk rolls around in September.
  2. Toughen your hands by practicing clapping for extended periods of time. Otherwise, your hands will be stinging shortly after you start on the first day, and you will have no feeling in them by the end of the weekend.
  3. Give up all pretenses of dignity as you prepare your outfits for the themed rest stops (when I think of some of the things I have worn).
  4. Make sure you know what poison ivy looks like (I have sat in it twice now). The pink calamine lotion doesn't look good on anyone.
  5. Make sure you practice your picture-taking skills and that you're on the right side of the camera when #3–4 happen.
  6. Prepare to have a great weekend!

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.

Yard sales in the rain

Written by on June 18, 2010 at 10:01 am

My sister Deirdre and I recently held our seventh annual fundraising yard sale. In the rain. And it was a huge success! We raised about $850. The weather was iffy for the whole weekend, so we waffled a bit about if we should go ahead with it or not. We decided to risk it.

There was lots of rain, thunder, lightning, wind, and a tornado watch. After about an hour and a half of torrential downpours, the skies cleared, and buyers descended on our sale in droves. We may have been the only yard sale that was crazy enough to go on that day. I bet over the two days of the sale, we saw at least a couple hundred people.


We collect donations all year from generous friends and family and store them in my garage. With that much commitment and so much stuff, there was no way that I wasn't having that sale! By the time our sale weekend rolled around, I couldn't even see most of the garage. Nine rows of boxes and storage tubs were stacked at least six high each. And this didn't count all the big stuff that was donated: a lawn mower, a dorm refrigerator, an air conditioner, an antique stove, bicycles, and more. Lots of people come to our yard sale every year and tell us that they love our sale and look for it when we advertise it in the local paper and on WickedLocal.com. It's nice to know that our hard work, and that of our "sales assistants" (parents and neighbors), is appreciated.

That first year we had the sale, I figured it was the only time we would do it. But when it worked out so well the first time, Deirdre wanted to know if I would do it again the next year. And so our tradition began of lots of hard work and logistical planning, but well worth it. As you can see from the pictures, we have a great time — even in the pouring rain.

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.

The story of the Challenge Walk

Written by on May 14, 2010 at 9:50 am

As a voracious reader, I have the perfect analogy for the Challenge Walk. It has the feeling of picking up a great book where you laid it down on page 67 because you didn't have time to finish reading, and twelve months later having no problem picking up and starting to read again and enjoying the story even more than before.

That book is like the friends you make at Challenge. Twelve months later you just pick up where you left off the year before. A little older, a few more wrinkles on the "pages", but just as enjoyable to read and to share with friends so they can have the same experience as you.

The story has improved with age — just like all of us! You may have misplaced a book or two during that year or the one before, but you keep hoping they will turn up out of the blue. And if they do, you will be more than happy to open the book back up and start reading again.

Book in the grass Some of the stories are mysteries: who has a new boyfriend? Who has had a child? And, the best of all: what the heck was she thinking when she cut her hair like that?! Romance novels are spread around; new and lost loves will both be seen. Science fiction? Oh, most definitely. Quite a few fairy princesses, a few knights in shining armor who are ready to slay the MS dragon, and the occasional alien life form (I probably fall into this category) can be seen out there walking and crewing. (The best spot to search for the alien life forms will be at the rest stops along the way.)

For most of us who do Challenge every year, these books and stories that we see every year have become intertwined with the story of our own lives.

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.

Challenge friends

Written by on August 12, 2009 at 1:10 pm

Hard to believe that we have only a month to go!  I can tell that the Walk is coming up soon: things are starting to ramp up more and more each day. I've been going back and forth with other crew members on what costumes they are wearing, if we have costumes to share, and the other fun items we may be bringing along.  I'm getting excited!

Although the primary focus of the Walk is to raise money to help defeat MS, it is so much more.  It helps bring people with a common goal together, and the friendships that result are long-lasting and fulfilling.  The year of the first MS Challenge Walk Walk, I went to the kick-off celebration.  I really didn't know many people there and was hanging out by the wall while different things were being explained and discussed by staff members.  Not too far from me was another girl, Brandy, who looked about as uncomfortable as I felt. She too was there by herself and didn't know anyone.  We started talking, and I asked her where she was staying the night before the walk.  Back then, the walk started in Plymouth, and she was planning on driving in from north of  Boston.  I didn't like the sound of that and, trusting person that I am, asked her to come stay at my house and we would drive over together in the AM.  I know she was a complete stranger, but all these years later, we are still good friends, and she danced at my wedding not that long ago.  And we still bunk together every year!

Those are the types of friends you will make at this event: Friends you want to share the other big events in your life with.  Friends who are there for you and understand why you are fighting the fight.  That is because they are right there fighting alongside you.

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.

We want to entertain you!

Written by on July 1, 2009 at 1:17 pm

This is not the walker you're looking for!

This is not the walker you're looking for!

Every year about this time, each crew starts coming up with different ideas for rest stop themes. Each stop is always a surprise for the walkers and is usually pretty amusing. Over the years, the crews have come up with some imaginative stops, with such themes as a wedding, Mardi Gras, pajama party, Star Wars, the Eighties, Halloween, The Wizard of Oz, villains, OktoberFest, and a Hawaiian luau, to name but a few. I wish I could name more, but like I said I never get to see the other stops!

I have seen some of the ideas which have come up for suggestion this year, and they are great. But the real point of this post is to ask you, the walkers, what would you like to see? Maybe a movie theme? Gone with the Wind? Maybe a profession? Doctors and nurses? Give us some ideas! Who knows, you may see your suggestion at one of the stops.

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.

Crew training — no, not the training you are thinking of

Written by on June 15, 2009 at 9:59 am

The Challenge Walk is only three months away, which means it's time to be training. But crew training is so different from walker training. For crew, now is the time we come up with our themes for the rest stops — the wackier the better for my crew!

We need to be inventive in how to keep the walkers entertained and give them a few smiles as they go through our rest stop. Who knows what costumes we'll get for this year? Over the years, I have been a pirate, a leprechaun, a Jedi Knight, an evil clown, and the world's largest Munchkin, to name a few. With the little bit of rain we got last year, my Jedi Knight costume, complete with bright yellow Wellington boots, looked more like the Gordon fisherman. I didn't look very professional in any of these costumes — but that wasn't the point. The point was to make the walkers comfortable and happy!

I'll soon be looking through the huge tote of costumes that I have been accumulating and see what I can pull out. After I've made my selections, my luggage will be about four times as much as any walker brings. How else would I fit in a military-sized squirt gun, Wellington boots, cowboy hat, and who knows what else? I'm hoping that someday, my appearance will be that of a person cured of MS — but that it won't be a costume, it will be the real me. That will be one costume that I will be happy to wear for the rest of my life.

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.