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Getting the word out about the MS Challenge Walk.

 

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.

    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.

    Details:

    • 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 Director of Development 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 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.

    Getting your story publicity

    Written by on August 7, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    Do you need help getting the word out to people in your local area about the MS Challenge Walk?

    Do you want people where you live to know about your personal commitment to fundraising for MS?

    If you answered yes to either of these questions, approaching your local newspaper and asking them to do a human interest story about you and your participation in the MS Challenge Walk is a great way to get the word out.

    A new resource in the Challenge Walk participant center will make it easier for you with sample letters for reaching out to newspaper editors and radio stations, and suggesting talking points for your interview. Please visit the page and see what resources are available to you.

    Be sure to check out our other publicity stories, too!

    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.

    Help create awareness about MS Challenge Walk!

    Written by on May 2, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    Mother Nature is finally smiling down on us and giving us great weather for walking! Can you believe that in a few months you will be walking 50 miles to create awareness about multiple sclerosis? The awareness that the Challenge Walk builds helps raise funds that fuel local programs and services as well as fund critical research aimed at stopping MS, restoring function lost to MS, and to ending MS forever.

    WE NEED YOUR HELP!

    Help us get the word out about the Cape Cod Challenge Walk coming up on September 7–8. Reach out to your local newspapers, television (community stations) and radio stations and ask them to tell your story. By sharing why you walk, why you have a team and why this is so important… you could inspire someone to join your team while others may want to make a donation to your team.

    We are available to assist you with information about the National MS Society Greater New England Chapter, multiple sclerosis, Challenge Walk and more.

    Thank you for all you do to support our vision of a world free of MS. MS kills connections… but it is through our connections with each other that we WILL kill MS.

    Thank you for your help!

    Aileen is the Director of Development 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!

    Getting the word out on public access TV

    Written by on February 20, 2013 at 10:25 am

    MS Challenge Walk is a dynamic community that draws people from around the world — yet it is a community that, like multiple sclerosis, is largely unseen. As we go about our day-to-day lives, our friends, family, and neighbors can't see what it is that drives us to walk 50 miles. Many people may not know what MS is, or that there is an event dedicated to seeing it end.

    Volunteer Dan Young, who each year donates his photography skills to MS Challenge Walk, recently took an extra step to increasing awareness of MS by recruiting his employer to the cause: Access Nashua, a public access television station in Nashua, New Hampshire. Host Denise-Marie McIntosh invited four participants of MS Challenge Walk — Kevin Lombardi, James Derick, Marisa Bonanno, and me — onto her talk segment, Fairy Tale Access. We discussed how MS works, how it has affected our lives, what we do about it, and how viewers can help.

    The show is scheduled to air during MS Awareness Week, March 11–17, on television stations around New England as well as YouTube. Watch for it next month on this blog, and in the meantime, enjoy this behind-the-scenes sneak preview!

    Ken 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.

    MS Challenge Walk 2013 commercial & PSA

    Written by on January 20, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    Every September, Brenda Neary and her Red Dirt Productions crew come to Cape Cod not just to bear witness to MS Challenge Walk, but to share the experience with a wider audience. They do so by recording the event on film and editing an amazing three-day adventure into a three-minute commercial that captures the essence of what it means to be a part of the MS Challenge Walk community.

    The 2013 video is now out, having been filmed at the 2012 walk. Not only will you see many familiar friends and faces, but you can use this video to recruit even more heroes into our ranks. Use the "Share this" buttons at the bottom of this post to take advantage of this recruitment resource. Make them the stars of next year's commercial!

    And here's a separate, shorter video that features different heroes:

    Ken 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.

    IDGers go the distance in fight against MS

    Written by on July 24, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    MS Challenge Walker Leslie Baldi and bicycle support crewperson Ken Gagne are co-workers at IDG. The company's internal publication, IDG World Update, recently featured the two's efforts to find a cure for multiple sclerosis. This story by editor David Bromley from the July 23, 2012 issue (Volume 42, Number 27, Page 5) was distributed to the organization's 9,000 employees and is republished here with permission. Click here for the original PDF.

    Two Framingham, Mass.-based IDG employees are walking the walk — literally. Computerworld Senior Associate Online Editor Ken Gagne and IDG Corporate Services Group Senior Accountant Leslie Baldi have raised money for and walked the annual Massachusetts Multiple Sclerosis Challenge Walk a collective 18 times.

    Baldi's husband Tom was diagnosed with MS in August 2003, just days before his 40th birthday. "I felt so powerless to help my husband until I learned about the MS Challenge Walk," Baldi said. "I have always been a fast walker so I finally felt like there was something I could do to help." She has participated in the three-day, 50-mile Walk on Cape Cod every year since — on Team Baldi's MS Busters, which is largely made up of siblings and friends of the Baldis — raising more than $125,000. "I personally feel like I am walking for the people who can no longer walk and to help raise awareness about the disease," Baldi said. "The walk is a very emotional event for us, but it renews our spirits each year and gives us so much hope that there will be a cure someday. We feel like the people involved in the MS Challenge Walk are our extended family."

    Leslie Baldi & Ken Gagne

    IDG Corporate Services Group Senior Accountant Leslie Baldi and Computerworld Senior Associate Online Editor Ken Gagne at the 2011 MS Challenge Walk.

    Since 2003 the Baldis have participated in or volunteered at numerous events for the National MS Society. Baldi has provided bike support at the MS Journey Walk for a number of years, and she and her husband volunteer at other one-day walk or bike events. She also completed the 150-mile Cape Cod Getaway bike event in 2007 and 2008 for the MS Society. "We have to thank so many of our friends and co-workers at IDG who have been supporting us for the past six years," she added.

    Gagne said that at a job prior to coming to Computerworld, a co-worker asked him to donate to her MS walk. "I wrote a check and didn't think about it again until a month later, when it hit me, 'Wait a minute — my mom has MS. Why aren't I the one walking?'" With less than two months to train and fundraise, he joined his co-worker's team. Since that first walk in 2005 he has raised more than $30,000.

    After participating in three Walks, Gagne switched to the bicycle support team, riding alongside the 600 walkers and providing them with food, drink, basic first aid and encouragement. "I usually ride near the back of the pack, since those are the walkers who often need the most support, emotional or otherwise," he said. "It's good for morale to let them know they're not alone, and as bike support I get to see everyone and participate in the entire community."

    Gagne has been on the Walk's steering committee since 2008 and also manages the Walk's Facebook page and curates a Walk blog and podcast of Walk stories and advice. "I enjoy knowing that I can contribute my skills to an organization that may not otherwise have the time or resources to investigate such opportunities," he said. "Although podcasting has been around since 2004, it's not a medium any of the National MS Society's 60-plus chapters were currently employing, which is one reason I pursued it: I knew we would be unique."

    This year's Walk will be held Sept. 7-9; more information is available here. To support Team Baldi, click here; to support Gagne, click here.

    Ken 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.