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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.

Training begins today!

Written by on May 7, 2013 at 10:13 am

Hello, Challengers!

I wanted to check in with you and see the status of your training. We are now 18 weeks out from the MS Challenge Walk and I thought I'd give you some motivational tips and information to help get you going!

To train correctly for this event, you need to progress slowly and listen to your body at all times. First, begin by adjusting 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. We have an 18-week training schedule you can follow that will get you ready for the walk, starting with a three-mile walk today!

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)

Beginning in June, we will be hosting MS Challenge Walk Group Trainings. I'll keep you informed on those dates as we get closer to June!  As this is my first Challenge Walk, I will be training every step of the way with you all!

Registered walkers should have received all your materials in the mail by now; if you have not, please let me know.  The recommended training schedule is in your guide and located online on our website. It’s time to dust off those sneakers (if you haven’t already) and get moving!  Be sure to contact me if you have any questions, otherwise I’ll be in touch with you soon.

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!

Talking with Marianne Dilworth

Written by on June 11, 2012 at 9:00 am

Welcome to MS Challenge Talk, a weekly audio recording that introduces you to the people and stories behind MS Challenge Walk.

This week, host Ken Gagne speaks with crew person Marianne Dilworth. It took Marianne a few years to "come out" with her diagnosis of MS, but since she did, she has relentlessly supported any and all National MS Society events. "Pocahontas" can be found cheering, blasting music, and handing out hugs and kisses to walkers, bicyclists, motorists, and anyone else who needs support anywhere else on the route. In this podcast, you'll learn her reason for such passionate dedication — and her cause will become your cause, too.

Welcome to MS Challenge Talk, a weekly audio recording that shares the stories and experiences of veterans of those who have walked three days and 50 miles to bring the world closer to a cure for multiple sclerosis, courtesy the National MS Society's MS Challenge Walk. You can subscribe to the show for free in Apple iTunes!

Training for those 50 miles

Written by on May 18, 2011 at 4:55 pm

If you live in Massachusetts like I do, the snow has cleared and it's time to start thinking about your walking program. Here are some motivational tips and information to help get you going.

To train correctly for this event, you need to progress slowly and listen to your body at all times. First, begin by adjusting the frequency of your walking: we have several training schedules available to help you build up your regularity. Then slowly increase the time spent walking, and then the speed, or intensity. Through it all, remember the essential steps of a good walking program are to warm-up, walk, cool-down, stretching and strength training.

Here are some other positive aspects and techniques to keep in mind:

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)

It's time to dust off those sneakers (if you haven't already) and get moving!

Lori is the Executive Vice President of Resource Development for the Greater New England Chapter of the National MS Society. She has been with the Society for over 10 years. MS Challenge Walk holds a special place in her heart, and every year, it inspires her to continue her work on behalf of the 19,000 people with MS and their families the chapter supports.

Let's make it happen!

Written by on April 20, 2011 at 3:05 pm

I am so excited to work with the many friends I have made over the years as well as begin to build new relationships with those that are embarking on this incredible journey for the first time! As we embark on our tenth year of the MS Challenge Walk Cape Cod, we will come together to celebrate how much of an impact we have had on those we have touched over time.

We have lots of work to do before we get to that finish line in September, and I am looking forward to working with everyone to make this year the most successful event ever.

For the time being, I urge everyone to get involved, stay motivated, and keep your focus! If you're not doing it already, start training for this undertaking — you can start by doing something as simple as walking about 30 minutes a day. Stay on top of your fundraising: engage your family, friends, and co-workers. And most important — get excited!

Please don't hesitate to reach out and contact me at any time regarding your questions or concerns. I'm looking forward to working with you all in the coming months to make this year's Challenge Walk an unparalleled success!

Lori is the Executive Vice President of Resource Development for the Greater New England Chapter of the National MS Society. She has been with the Society for over 10 years. MS Challenge Walk holds a special place in her heart, and every year, it inspires her to continue her work on behalf of the 19,000 people with MS and their families the chapter supports.

Money motivation

Written by on July 30, 2010 at 1:04 pm

I'm not sure if it's a Midwestern sensibility, a sense of shyness, or just plain pride, but I have always felt awkward asking people for money. I knew this long before I signed up for the Challenge Walk, so from the start, I knew that the solicitation and fundraising aspects of the event would be my biggest trial.

On any given day, if you gave me the choice, I'd probably be more comfortable walking an extra 30 miles than asking for donations! But that's not the way this walk works, and the bar is set high with a requested $1,500 minimum per walker. So not knowing what else to do, I followed the lead of my boyfriend (a long-time walker and bike crew member for this event) and started writing solicitation letters.

Those who received my solicitation were, without exception, family in some way, and I have the extra challenge of not living near any family. Could I really expect people who live over 1,000 miles from New England to care about this walk? What's more, I know that some of them are having a hard time making ends meet right now; could I in good conscience even solicit them in the first place? With all these questions weighing on me, I became worried that I should start eliminating prospective donors from my already small pool. What's more, I was becoming convinced that there was no possible way to hit that fundraising minimum.

But Ken, kind and sometimes even wise man that he is, gave me a small but intrinsic piece of advice — it's not my place to decide whether someone else can afford to donate, or to decide how big a priority charity is for them. All I can do is offer the opportunity and see who wants to take it.

With that in mind, I rallied my courage, stamped a bunch of envelopes, and dropped them all in the mail before I could change my mind. Now that some donations are coming back, I'm seeing his point: some of the donations are much bigger than I expected. A few are a little smaller. But overall, I'm surprised by the level of generosity my family is showing to this walk — even if they aren't anywhere near New England and don't know anyone who has MS, many of them still want to support me in my pursuits, and for some of them, that's reason enough to contribute. For others, perhaps they're glad to know that I'm spending my spare time promoting good causes. I may not know each person's motivation for donating, but I do respond with all the gratitude I feel for their support.

Though that $1,500 goal is still very lofty, this first round of fundraising has given me the motivation to look for other opportunities to close the gap. I don't know if I'll be selling my home-grown cucumbers, hosting a back-to-school party for my classmates, or just outright begging, but I'm going to do what I can to raise money for this cause. Whether or not I make the minimum, I can walk proudly if I know I gave it my best effort.

Kahmmie was a first-year walker in 2010 and had just started to get involved with the MS community, with the inspiration of her then significant other, Ken, this site's webmaster. She lived in the Boston area and attended graduate school full-time.

Spreading the joy and making connections!

Written by on July 2, 2010 at 8:30 am

Raising money for the Challenge Walk can be a difficult undertaking. Luckily, I have a great team that supports my efforts! There have been a few things that I have discovered after committing to this walk for a second time:

First, I spend a lot more time talking with my teammates due to planning and such, which to me is a bonus in all of this. Would we be talking this much if not for a common thread? Our lives, like everyone's, are busy ones, and sometimes we don't take the time to talk like we should.

Second, I've met people that I wouldn't have had a chance to meet otherwise. I met a few people with MS through my church after publicizing our fundraiser in the church bulletin. One woman had done the MS Challenge Walk for the first few years but couldn't now. She had some wonderful words of wisdom for me — as well as a donation!

Team WWW fun-draiser

Team WWW knows what to do with too much food!

Third, due to an overabundance of donated food items for our recent fundraiser, I connected with a local soup kitchen and gave them all our extra food. We had enough salad to feed 200 people left over! It was a great feeling, spreading this joy of food. We were not expecting particular donations, and when they came at the last minute we were not turning them away! The interesting part is the man who I contacted, randomly, knew about MS because his wife was an MS clinic nurse until she retired. He was just another twist of fate spun by this event which inspires me in the daily challenges of MS!

Who knows what other joys or connections I will make over the next few months or even during the walk itself? I look forward to it all!

Wendy, the captain of Team WWW (Walk With Wendy), was diagnosed with MS in 2006.  Although she cut down on her work hours during the past year, she still loves her job as a teacher.  Wendy lives in Attleboro, MA, with her supportive husband and 9-year-old son, who provides inspiration for her daily!

Walking with friends

Written by on June 25, 2010 at 10:32 am

Friends walking

You're not in this alone!

Training is not easy for me. Lack of time and fatigue are big reasons why I find it so difficult to commit to a regular training schedule. This year, though, I'm approaching training differently: I'm walking with friends. We walk at lunch time, after work and on weekends. The walk group isn't always the same. Some days, there are five or six of us walking, other days, just one or two. It doesn't matter how many of us are walking together, the result is always the same: we laugh, talk and the miles fly by.

If training is difficult for you, consider forming a walk group of co-workers, friends and family. You'll be surprised how much easier it is to train!

Diagnosed with MS in 1994, Patty responded the way many do: she refused to discuss it. It took her ten years to realize that silence isn't the answer. She, her friends and family formed the Blister Buddies for their first Challenge Walk in 2004. Patty is now on the Challenge Walk Steering Committee and chairs the PR Subcommittee. In November 2008, she became a member of the Greater NE Chapter's Board of Trustees.