An Adventure of a Lifetime

Pete snowmobile 2

Breathtaking, serene, and majestic are just some of the many words which come to mind when describing my incredible three-day journey into the wilds of Wyoming and Montana during the 2014 Wyoming/Yellowstone Charity Snowmobile Ride. Sponsored by the Cody Optimist Club and supported by Teva Pharmaceuticals, this year’s 16th annual ride was a huge success raising nearly $50,000 to help support MSAA’s programs and services.
Pete bison

I was honored to represent MSAA and attend this year’s event, which occurred over Super Bowl weekend. It was, without a doubt, one of the most remarkable experiences of my life. As a first-time snowmobile rider and flat-lander from New Jersey, I had to quickly adjust to altitudes of more than 8,000 feet, learn to operate a 550 cc “sled,” and maneuver through some pretty challenging mountainous terrain.

In taking on this new adventure I did my best to maintain pace with the pack, but admittedly went slow and cautious through the hairpin curves. This strategy helped keep me alive (a Pete snowmobilemajor concern of my wife) but also generated some good natured ribbing from the seasoned veterans and a few crazy rookies! I also managed to get my sled stuck in a snowbank. As a result, I earned the coveted “bone” award, which I accepted with considerable pride.

With each day’s passage I was not only struck by the remarkable beauty of the surrounding landscape, but also by the heart-warming beauty of everyone connected to this ride. Led by ride organizer Ed Livingston, the Cody Optimist Club, representatives from Teva and the entire team of dedicated riders all come together once a year to relive fond memories, create new adventures and, most importantly, help improve the lives of people with MS and their families. On behalf of myself and MSAA, I want to express my sincere appreciation and deepest gratitude to everyone associated with the Wyoming/Yellowstone Charity Snowmobile Ride for providing 16 years of unbelievable support and dedication to the MS cause and for giving this Jersey boy the adventure of a lifetime!

MSAA’s Vice President of Programs and Services Peter Damiri has been with the organization for almost 25 years and worked as the director of public relations before moving to MSAA’s programs and services department. He oversees MSAA’s existing programs and services, as well as any new program initiatives. He is also involved with many other aspects of patient education, including coordinating and managing the production of MSAA’s online educational videos and webinars. Mr. Damiri has a bachelor’s degree in communications.

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Swim for MS News – October 2013

The October 2013 Winner is…
Congratulations, Auburn Swimming and Diving – BLUE TEAM 2013, for being the top Swim for MS fundraiser during the month of September!

Check out Auburn Swimming and Diving – BLUE TEAM’s page and support their Swim!

Thumbs up - Benefits of SwimmingBenefits of Swimming:

  • The ability to do more with less
  • Increased muscle tone & strength
  • Improved flexibility
  • A healthier heart
  • Controlled weight
  • Improved cholesterol
  • Lower risk of diabetes
  • Lower stress

Be a part of Swim for MS – please register today!

Swim for MS swimsuits from HARDCORESWIM

Swim for MS Swimsuit Partnership:
MSAA has partnered with HARDCORESWIM to provide exclusive Swim for MS swimsuits. Two different Swim for MS styles are available for men and women. Check out the Swim for MS page on their site and order your suit today!

Spread the Word:
Once you start your Swim for MS, don’t forget to post pictures of your Swim on social media and tag MSAA!

Facebook: facebook.com/MSassociation
Twitter: @MSassociation
Use hashtag #SwimForMS

In Other News:
Please visit our Swim for MS News archive on SwimForMS.org for more information on our CaféPress site, as well as our Swim for MS partners, Pura Vida and HARDCORESWIM.

If you have any questions, please contact us at swim@mymsaa.org.

Thank you for your support, and happy swimming!

Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA)

#SwimForMS – use this hashtag when talking about Swim for MS on Twitter!

Tweet about your Swim for MS!

Swim for MS is supported by our National Sponsor, Genzyme Corporation; our Distribution Sponsors including SwimOutlet.com and Fitter Faster Tour; and our Swim for MS partner, HARDCORESWIM.

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Swim for MS News – September 2013

The September 2013 Winner is…
Congratulations, Nick Fedirko, for being the top Swim for MS fundraiser during the month of August!

Check out Nick’s Swim for MS page

Dive into action and Swim for MS!

Swim for MS - Multiple Sclerosis Association of AmericaSwim for MS is our national fundraiser in which volunteers are encouraged to create their own swim challenge while recruiting online donations to support the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA). Swim for MS is unique because MSAA does not plan the event – you do! As a Swim for MS volunteer, you have the opportunity to create and arrange your own special Swim activity. You can participate individually or recruit other swim enthusiasts to form a team.

You’ll find many fun and creative ways to dive into action and raise funds for MS. Popular Swim for MS activities fall into two main categories:

  • Go the Distance – individuals or teams set a challenge goal to swim a certain amount of laps, distance or time during one day or over a set period of time (i.e. swim 500 laps in 30 days to raise $1,000 for MSAA)
  • Make a Splash – participants turn fun pool activities into exciting fundraisers such as pool volleyball tournaments, cannonball jumping contests, and more! You can even dedicate your next birthday party as a Swim for MS Pool Party.

Be a part of Swim for MS – please register today!

Swim for MS swimsuits from HARDCORESWIM

Swim for MS Swimsuit Partnership
MSAA has partnered with HARDCORESWIM to provide exclusive Swim for MS swimsuits. Two different Swim for MS styles are available for men and women. Check out the Swim for MS page on their site and order your suit today!

Spread the Word
Once you start your Swim for MS, don’t forget to post pictures of your Swim on social media and tag MSAA!

Facebook: facebook.com/msassociation
Twitter: @MSassociation
Use hashtag #SwimForMS

In Other News
Please visit our Swim for MS News archive on SwimForMS.org for more information on our CaféPress site, as well as our Swim for MS partners, Pura Vida and HARDCORESWIM.

If you have any questions, please contact us at swim@mymsaa.org.

Thank you for your support, and happy swimming!

Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA)

#SwimForMS – use this hashtag when talking about Swim for MS on Twitter!

Twitter icon Tweet about your Swim for MS!

Swim for MS is supported by our National Sponsor, Genzyme Corporation; our Distribution Sponsors including SwimOutlet.com and Fitter Faster Tour; and our Swim for MS partner, HARDCORESWIM.

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Swim for MS News – August 2013

The August 2013 Winner is…
Congratulations Rachel Clift, for being the top Swim for MS fundraiser during the month of July!

Check out Rachel’s Swim for MS page

Tips for the nervous swimmerTips for the Nervous Swimmer:

  • Buy goggles that fit to avoid uncomfortable under-eye creases
  • Build a strong core on dry land; swimming uses every muscle in your body
  • Start by treading water to get your blood flowing
  • Take it two laps at a time, if able to, to develop stamina
  • Familiarize yourself with the breaststroke so you can easily get yourself from one side of the pool to the other
  • Have fun with your swim!

Exclusive Swim for MS swimsuitsSwim for MS Swimsuit Partnership:
MSAA has partnered with HARDCORESWIM to provide exclusive Swim for MS swimsuits! Two different Swim for MS styles are available for men and women! If you haven’t already done so, check out the Swim for MS page on their site and order your suit today before the summer fun is over!

Spread the Word:
Don’t forget to post pictures of your Swim for MS on social media and tag MSAA!

Facebook: facebook.com/msassociation
Twitter: @Msassociation
Use hashtag #SwimForMS

In Other News:
Please visit our Swim for MS News section on SwimForMS.org for more information on our CaféPress site, as well as our Swim for MS partners, Pura Vida and HARDCORESWIM.

If you have any questions, please contact us at swim@mymsaa.org.

Thank you for your support, and happy swimming!

#SwimForMS – use this hashtag when talking about Swim for MS on Twitter!

Tweet about your Swim for MS!

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Swim for MS News – July 2013

The July 2013 Winners are…
Missy Franklin Autographed Photo:
Congratulations Julia, for being the top Swim for MS fundraiser during the month of June!

Swimsuit Prize:
Congratulations Kara for winning a Swim for MS swimsuit! This suit was designed and made by HARDCORESWIM!

How do I Swim for MS?
Go the Distance – Individuals or teams set a challenge goal to swim a certain amount of laps, distance, or time during one day or over a set period of time.

Make a Splash – Participants turn fun pool activities into exciting fundraisers such as pool volleyball tournaments, cannonball jumping contests, and more!

How do I receive Community Service Credit?
If you or someone you know needs to fulfill community service hours – Swim for MS! Swim for MS is a “virtual volunteer opportunity” – this means that you contribute as much time as you can – when you can!

  • Register online at SwimForMS.org.
  • Set your challenge goal – Swim 100 laps in 10 hours and raise $150.
  • Ask your friends and family to support your cause.
  • Keep a log of hours swam and track your progress on your page.
  • Once completed, email swim@mymsaa.org to receive a confirmation letter of your hours!

Swim for MS Swimsuit Partnership
MSAA has partnered with HARDCORESWIM to provide exclusive Swim for MS swimsuits! HARDCORESWIM is based in Southern California and all items, from start to finish, are produced in the USA. Two different Swim for MS styles are available for men and women! Check out the Swim for MS page on their site and order your suit today!

In Other News
Please visit our Swim for MS News section on SwimForMS.org for more information on our CaféPress site, as well as our Swim for MS partners, Pura Vida and HARDCORESWIM.

If you have any questions, please contact us at swim@mymsaa.org.

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Tana Campbell’s Race of Hope – Part 3

By Tana Campbell

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I decided to participate in this half marathon at my son’s urging. It was his idea totally, but it gave me a feeling of worth and something to look forward to. We made MSAA the beneficiary charity since I have multiple sclerosis (MS), and with lots of support we were able to raise over $4,500 to donate to a worthy organization. The race was a test of endurance and perseverance for both my son and I. My greatest fear was having muscle spasms in my leg; but despite the long ride, rough spots, bumps and elevated bridges, I came through the experience unscathed. I had no aftereffects other than being slightly sore the next day, and I was probably in better shape than my son and those that ran with us. It was an enjoyable ride, something I wouldn’t have gotten to do or places I wouldn’t have gotten to see if it hadn’t been for my son’s willingness to push me in this marathon. Like many, I deal with MS on a daily basis with the use of a rollator/walker/cane/wheelchair for mobility. Being able to be a part of regular life was a sense of accomplishment and self-worth, a gift to me from my son. He’ll never know how much his selfless sacrifice means, but it was the greatest gift I’ve ever gotten and I’d do it again if the opportunity presents itself!

Watch Tana’s race video:

Read Parts 1 & 2 written by Tana’s son, Mark:
Read Part 1 of Tana Campbell’s Race of Hope
Read Part 2 of Tana Campbell’s Race of Hope

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Tana Campbell’s Race of Hope – Part 1

Written By Mark Campbell, Tana’s Son

424637_394864773961277_1025041170_nI was nervous…extremely nervous. I wanted to offer my mother an experience that she never had. Personally, I enjoy running; particularly, I enjoy running long distances. And I wanted to run a long distance with my mother. But how do you ask someone who suffers from multiple sclerosis (MS) to run a half marathon when they have trouble walking from the car to the grocery store? How do you convince someone with MS to believe that they can run in a race when they can’t stand unaided for more than a couple of minutes?  Eventually, I got up the nerve to ask my mother if she would let me push her in a wheelchair while I ran a half marathon (13.1 miles). At this moment, more than any other moment in the entire timeline of events, I was the most nervous. I was scared that my mother would laugh at me. Or maybe she would roll her eyes and say, “That’s a stupid idea!” or “We can’t do that.”  Imagine my surprise when, without hesitation, my mother said, “Yes, let’s do it!”

This is not the first time that my mother has shocked me. Throughout my whole life she made me proud, amazed and inspired. But this was an enormous challenge for her. There were so many questions: Can she tolerate the ride? Can she tolerate the length of time? Can she tolerate the weather conditions? Will she enjoy herself? Will she regret doing this? Will her painful leg spasms return from the jostling of running?  I had to remind myself that this is my mother and she has shown me time and time again that no matter the test she would prevail.

We targeted a half marathon that was local (Raleigh, NC) for us. I sent an email to the race director asking him if he would allow us to participate. He welcomed us with open arms and asked if there was anything he could do to help.  This was a tremendous weight off my mind as I envisioned some lawyer-speak about, “blah, blah, liability, blah, blah, insurance regulations, blah, blah, doctor’s note.” I wouldn’t have blamed him if he turned us away….well maybe I would blame him a little bit. Fortunately, we no longer had to worry about that. Now we had roughly three months to plan and organize our experience.

The first order of business was to pick a charity. The decision was made immediately. Mom chose the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA). She said they have been so good to her, and the thought of giving back to them gave her a great sense of worth. We contacted MSAA and with their help created a donation page.

Then we blitzed our family, friends and business contacts for donations to MSAA in mom’s honor. Without a doubt, our best source of fundraising was through Facebook. Within a couple of days of promoting our event on Facebook, we received $3,000 in donations. People were so excited for us and they showed that with not only their donations but also their words of encouragement. We eventually were able to raise over $4,500 for MSAA, and that is our greatest accomplishment through this whole process. We even had three running friends ask to join us during the race. Mom and I just could not believe how this event was moving people, many of whom we didn’t really know.

The last thing was to figure out how to make Mom as comfortable as possible during the run. We are fortunate enough to know the owner of a local medical supply store. He loaned us the use of a great wheelchair that had more padding than a standard chair, could recline to numerous positions and had a single handlebar for pushing. It was the perfect chair for both of us. The planning was done. The only thing left was waiting for race day.

Read on for Part 2 of Tana Campbell’s Race of Hope…

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Swim for MS News – June 2013

New Swim for MS Partnership

Swim for MS swimsuits from HARDCORESWIMMSAA is pleased to announce our partnership with HARDCORESWIM to provide exclusive Swim for MS swimsuits available for purchase. HARDCORESWIM is an authentic and innovative designer, marketer and distributor of premium quality young men’s and young women’s swimsuits, training gear, clothing, accessories and related products under the HARDCORESWIM name. HARDCORESWIM is based in Southern California and all items, from start to finish, are produced in California. There are two different Swim for MS style suits are available for men and women! Check out the Swim for MS page on their site and order your suit today!

Anyone that raises at least $150 during the month of June and tags a picture of themselves swimming or in their Swim for MS t-shirt on Facebook or Twitter will be entered into a raffle to receive a Swim for MS suit! Please go to SwimForMS.org to register!

Facebook: facebook.com/msassociation
Twitter: @Msassociation #SwimForMS

Have Fun and Support the MS Community by Organizing a Graduation or 4th of July Swim for MS pool party!

  1. Choose a location – your backyard pool or local community pool.
  2. Decide the type of event – will this be a pool party or will you host a BBQ as well?! Be sure you have some games for in and out of the pool – pool volleyball, bean bag toss, horseshoes, and more!
  3. Create a list of attendees and create an invitation. Be sure to mention the date, time, location, and donation/admission fee. You can ask for a $5 donation to join the party!
  4.  Day of: Set up and have fun! Don’t forget to take some photos and ask the participants to sign our photo release form (email us for more information!).
  5. Within 30 days, please send the proceeds to MSAA at 706 Haddonfield Rd., Cherry Hill, NJ 08002. Be sure to include your contact information and details about your event!

 

The June Winners are…

Missy Franklin Autograph Photo:
Congratulations Akshaj, for being the top Swim for MS fundraiser during the month of May!

Modify Watch Prize:
Congratulations Jake for winning a Modify Watch!

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Swim for MS Update – May 2013

Summer is almost here! Start to plan your summer Swim for MS event today!

Looking for some ideas for your summer Swim for MS, consider these options:
1.    Host a summer pool party for Memorial Day weekend!
2.    Set a goal to swim 500 laps throughout the summer to raise $1,000!
3.    Create a pool volleyball tournament with your friends!
4.    Participate in Swim for MS and pledge to swim 100 laps and improve your fitness by the end of summer!

MSAA’s Special Swim for MS May Prize…is a Modify Watch!
Anyone who registers for Swim for MS will be entered to win a Modify Watch! Modify Watches are interchangeable watches allowing an individual to mix-and-match faces and straps to create the “Mod” that best suits you! Browse the Modify Watches blog for more information on their nonprofit collection and how to purchase a “Together” watch.

Please note: participants must register during the month of May 2013 (5/1/2013 through 5/31/2013) in order to be eligible. The winner will be announced via email in the June 2013 edition of the Swim for MS News e-newsletter.

The May 2013 Winner is…
Missy Franklin Autographed Photo:
Congratulations to Laurieann Hart for raising $1,220 through Swim for MS in the month of April!

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Four Days Left

As April comes to a close, so does MSAA’s partnership with Modify Watches. In a previous post we announced for the month of April MSAA is the beneficiary of Modify Watches’ “Together” watch.

Modify will be donating $20 to MSAA for EVERY “Together” watch sold during April (even for members of their Mod of the Month Club who are receiving a 20% discount). If you would like to purchase a Together Watch to support MSAA visit Modify’s Non-Profit Collection.

modify watch
 

 

Please share with your friends and family today! Support  MSAA  today with the Modify “Together” watch!

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