The Greater Illinois Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society hosted its annual Walk MS event on May 4 at 11 locations statewide, including the North Shore site in Glenview, where participants started and finished at Attea Middle School in Glenview.
Walk MS, the largest annual fundraiser of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, brings people together across the country to celebrate the progress and powerful connections made in the movement to end MS and raises funds for critical MS research, programs and services.
The North Shore Chapter raised $248,050 and attracted more than 800 walkers. All Illinois chapters combined raised $2,282,193 with over 11,000 participants.
One of the North Shore participants was Deb Gates of Vernon Hills, who has been a regular fixture at Walk MS since being diagnosed with MS in Feb. 2004. She has her own Walk team, “Deb’s Team,” and participates each year because she believes in the mission of the National MS Society and all that it does for people living with the disease.
“Walk MS is important to help fund scientific research and to also give back to those in the Greater Illinois MS Community who need assistance,” said Gates. “I’m very appreciative of those who spend countless hours fundraising on our [those living with MS] behalf as well as those who are involved in organizing the event.”
To supplement her own fundraising efforts, Gates hosts an annual bowling fundraiser. She also stays positive and encourages other people with MS to do the same. “Take control of the diagnosis — don’t let it control you.”
David Alcozer of Niles and his fiancé Ania Nalepski walked as part of “Team Gizmo.” “Soles for a Cure” also participated.
“For many people living with MS, this is one of the best and most important days of the year,” said John Blazek, Greater Illinois Chapter president. “Whether it’s through participating at one of our Walk sites, volunteering, fundraising or recruiting a friend or family member to be part of the movement, the amazing turnout of thousands of supporters helps bring us closer to our goal of a world free of MS.”
As of May 22, more than $2 million has been raised in 2014 in Illinois through Walk MS, with fundraising continuing through September 30.
For more information, visit MSillinois.org.