Challenge Walk

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General information about the walk itself.

 

The guilt made her do it

Written by on July 29, 2015 at 10:04 am

Beth Keough of Franklin, Massachusetts, didn't set out to walk fifty miles on Cape Cod last fall because she needed the exercise, wanted the blisters, or even because she was raising money to find a cure for a disease she lives with every day — no, she did it out of guilt.

"I was tired of the guilt trips," she laughed.

The guilt trips were from her brother Tom Keough of Milford. Tom had been taking part in Challenge Walk MS on Cape Cod for five years and wanted his sister to join him. Challenge Walk MS is a three-day, 50-mile walk on Cape Cod that raises money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Beth was diagnosed with MS in 2006.

"I had difficulty walking," she remembered. "I thought it was just a pinched nerve."

Not long after Beth's diagnosis, Tom began participating in the 50-mile walk. Each year he would invite his sister to join him. Her schedule didn't allow her to do so — until last year.

"I always wanted to do it," said Beth. "I had gone to the Saturday night (candlelight) program, and it was such an inspiring thing to see."

Last year, it worked out she could train for and participate in Challenge.

"I decided I would sign up for it — and I was very glad I did."

Not that it was easy: just finding the time to do the long training walks was challenging to say the least.

"It was very difficult, but I did what I could," said Beth. "I definitely wish I had trained more. I did 33 miles (of the 50); it was definitely hard but I pushed through and did what I could."

For big brother Tom, it was great having his sister walking with him.

"It was fun having her out there, trading sarcastic comments and barbs, with her always making sure to keep me humble," he laughed. "I was also very proud at the way she pushed herself past pain and mental hurdles to go farther than she even thought she could. After some stumbles over previous years, it was awesome to see that the changes in treatment were working for her and helping her physically. It gave me a boost, knowing that they are making progress and it's a battle worth fighting. Today, we can walk together for everyone fighting the disease.

The guilt for Beth is gone — replaced by something else.

"A different emotion for me — pride."

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

Brother walks for sister with MS

Written by on July 27, 2015 at 10:03 am

When Tom Keough's sister Beth was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2006, he admits, he felt helpless and initially handled it poorly.

In an effort to do something positive, the Milford resident signed up for a one-day Walk MS in Worcester. He was immediately inspired by all the people he met, walking and working to find a cure for the disease affecting his sister.

Then Tom heard from a friend about the Challenge Walk MS on Cape Cod, a three-day, 50-mile journey to end MS forever. He immediately joined the friend's team, Bonnie's Believers.

"I jumped on board and started looking at different ways I could fundraise for the cause," said Tom. "Meeting so many amazing people along the way has only fueled my passion, and I walk for them as much as for Beth now."

Last year was Tom's sixth Challenge Walk MS, and the first time his sister Beth could join him.

"I was really excited to have her there to experience it as a walker and to meet others who understand what she is going through," said Tom. "Since I started walking, our family has always made Challenge Walk weekend an important time of year and it was cool that she could see it from start to finish. "

Beth and Tom will walk together again in this year's walk. Tom has high hopes for the weekend and beyond.

"My hope is to meet new friends to inspire us and reconnect with old friends who are stronger than they were before, whose treatments have been successful in controlling the disease's effects," he said.

"For my baby sister, I hope that she will continue to push her limits and know that her brother has her back, no matter what she wants to do in life. I hope that we can one day celebrate a cure and know that we were a part of making that happen."

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

Start training!

Written by on July 16, 2015 at 10:34 am

Hello, Challengers!

I wanted to check in with you and see the status of your training. We are now eight weeks out from the Challenge Walk MS, and I thought I'd give you some motivational tips and information to keep you motivated!

To train correctly for this event, you need to progress slowly and listen to your body at all times. Begin by adjusting first the frequency of you walking, then the duration and finally the intensity. The essential components of a good walking program are warm-up, walk, cool-down, stretching and strength training.

Five Good Reasons to Start Walking (besides the MS Challenge Walk)

  1. Reduces cholesterol levels
  2. Decrease high blood pressure
  3. Reduces risk of heart disease
  4. Increase energy
  5. Decreases stress

Five Ways to Incorporate Walking into Your Daily Life

  1. Walk your dog (or someone else's dog — with permission, of course!)
  2. Take a pre- or post-dinner walk. This is a great time to just be by yourself or take along your family for some quality time with them!
  3. Skip the elevator and take the stairs
  4. Do errands on foot, or park in the rear of the parking lot and walk to the store
  5. Walk to work — even if you telecommute, take a half-hour each morning to do a lap around the neighborhood, ending at your "office"

Five Steps to Take to be Successful

  1. Make a commitment to yourself
  2. Reserve time in your schedule
  3. Create a habit first
  4. Establish your long and short term goals
  5. Reward yourself when you meet your goals (a new bestseller, tickets to a concert or play, etc)

Fitbit Challenge

Are you training with your Fitbit? Be sure to participate in our Fitbit Challenge by joining our Fitbit Group. Join other walkers training and walk to the number one spot!!

You should have received all your materials, if not please let me know. Keep up the hard work and check out our website for additional training information, including our training schedule guide.

Take care,

Danielle Paonessa
Development Coordinator
National MS Society

Danielle Paonessa is a development coordinator with the National MS Society. She works on four MS Walks around the Boston area and helps with the Challenge Walk. Danielle has a degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and became interested in working in the non-profit industry after interning with Make-A-Wish her senior year of college.

Challenge Walk MS training and new fundraising raffle!

Written by on May 23, 2015 at 7:01 pm

Can you believe it? It's almost the unofficial start of summer – Memorial Day weekend is tomorrow! 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 walking!

Make sure your check out the training schedule in our guide if you have not done so yet. Next week is the start of the 18-week training schedule! Do you have a Fitbit or other step tracking device? Log your steps and use that to help you with your training this year! Be on the lookout on how tracking your training can help you win a prize on Friday night of Challenge Walk MS!

Did you hear the news? We have a Patriots Grill to raffle off and help you with your fundraising! All raffle ticket sales will go directly to your personal goal for Challenge Walk MS. For information and how to get the raffle tickets to sell, check out the "Document Downloads" section of our website or click above!

OUR IMPACT: In 2014, the National MS Society invested $50 million to support 385 research initiatives worldwide. Each year, Challenge Walk MS: Cape Cod participants and Crew members raise close to $1 million dollars. You ALL have a direct impact in the latest MS research around the world, as well as helping people with MS regionally with day-to-day programs and assistance. THANK YOU for your continued efforts in fundraising to help us get closer to a cure!

Congratulations to our Top Fundraising Teams (so far!):

  1. The Lombardi Party – $21,001
  2. Team Hurri-Kane – $6,950
  3. Team Believers – $5,845
  4. Blister Buddies – $5,170
  5. Tommy's Team – $4,440

Kudos to our Top Individual Fundraisers (so far!):

  1. Chad Matthews – $8,048
  2. Kevin Lombardi – $6,995
  3. Krista Kane – $5,625
  4. Patricia Thorpe – $5,120
  5. Tom Olafsson – $4,440

Need advice or want to talk about your fundraising? Let me know! I am here to help!

Enjoy the nice weather that we all so deserve!

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!

Give fruit and help MS!

Written by on March 23, 2015 at 10:04 pm

Candy makes you fat, and flowers die — so why not send a gift that's healthful, fun, and helps the National MS Society?

Edible Arrangements specializes in that perfect gift of delicious and nutritious fresh fruit (okay, some is dipped in chocolate), artfully displayed in a colorful arrangement. All this month, when you purchase an Orange Citrus Blossom arrangement, $5 will go to the National MS Society for each one sold. No birthdays or anniversaries in March? No problem. You just have to purchase the arrangement during March; it can be delivered any time of year!

"As far as putting time and effort into any charity, it's the [National] MS Society," said Nick D'Alleva. D'Alleva owns three Edible Arrangements stores on the North Shore of Boston. The Society is his charity of choice because his brother-in-law and niece both have multiple sclerosis.

Orange Citrus BlossomIn 2011, D'Alleva came up with the idea to combine his business with a fundraiser for the Society. Since then, he and his fellow store owners have raised nearly $40,000 for the Society.

This year, 61 Edible Arrangements stores in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island are taking part in the campaign.

Don't you have someone you know who would love a healthful treat?

To order an Orange Citrus Blossom, visit edible.com/MS for a listing of all participating locations.

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!

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:

https://www.challengeblog.org/twitter/

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

https://www.facebook.com/MSChallengeWalkCapeCod

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

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.

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.