Swim for MS: Give me a T-E-A-M!

With the start of the new school year and a new swim team season, MSAA’s Swim for MS has seen tremendous support. All over the country, swim teams are working together raising money to improve the lives of those living with MS.

Swim for MS encourages volunteers to create their own challenge, such as swimming laps or set distances over a chosen period of time while collecting donations for their personal fundraising goal. These challenges can be done individually or through group swims by teams of young and old alike. The NCMP Aquagirls, a Girls’ High School Swim Team from Iowa, created an event that would push them into swim shape early while creating awareness and raising funds. Their team captain, Rachel, challenged the team to swimming 50,000 total laps during the month of September. They collected pledges in August and September to raise over $1,000 for Swim for MS.

NCMP Aquagirls

NCMP Aquagirls

Lexie and team

Lexie & Team at her Swim for MS event

Volunteers also raise funds through a variety of unique one-day events such as pool parties, water-volleyball tournaments, and cannonball challenges. Unlike more traditional MS fundraising activities, Swim for MS allows individuals with MS at any stage in their journey – from the recently diagnosed to those with limited mobility – to benefit from water exercise and assist in raising donated funds for a vital cause. Lexi and her Swim for MS Team participated in a one day Swim for MS event held at her high school in Indianapolis and raised over $2,800 in September.

Just because October, November, and December are filled with back-to-back holiday parties, doesn’t mean you can’t organize a successful fundraiser! Stay on top of your game by encouraging a team effort for this fun event. Gather your Swim Team for a fundraising event everyone can do together. Show your school spirit by having a friendly competition between team colors, pick a side, and swim your heart out. Winning team gets bragging rights for the swim season!

On our SwimForMS.org website, you can read the profiles of some of our swimmers. They can inspire you and give you great ideas for your own Swim for MS challenge. We would like to thank everyone who has or will participate in Swim for MS!

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6 Ways to Support the Multiple Sclerosis Community

Looking for some creative ways to support individuals living with multiple sclerosis (MS)? In the following list, we’ll show you six different ways you can help MSAA improve lives today—without breaking the bank.

AmazonSmile

1. AmazonSmile— AmazonSmile is a great way to support the multiple sclerosis community without spending extra money. Simply select the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America as your charity of choice, and Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible purchase to MSAA! Click here to learn more or to make a purchase.

ebay-giving-works

2. eBay Giving Works— Do you have some things lying around the house that you’d love to sell on eBay? If so, you can choose to donate a portion of your sales to MSAA. Visit eBay’s Giving Works website to learn more.

3. Counter Punch Wine— Calling all wine lovers! Purchase wine bottles by using MSAA’s promotional code and receive a 10% discount! The best part? MSAA will also receive 10% of your purchase—helping us to continue improving lives today for people living with MS. Please visit www.counterpunchwines.com and enter the promo code: MSAA

msaa_dog_tshirt

4. CafePress— Get all your MSAA and Swim for MS swag here. Everything from bags and water bottles to t-shirts and bracelets make great gifts. Check out the full inventory.

*We’re sure you’ll love our shirts, but we can’t promise you’ll look this cute wearing them.

5. PuraVida Bracelets— Help us raise awareness of multiple sclerosis by purchasing an MSAA bracelet from PuraVida. $1 of each bracelet purchased will go directly to MSAA. Visit PuraVida’s site to learn more.

6. Host a Pool Party—  Now that summer’s here, invite your friends and family to the pool and have a Swim for MS themed pool party! Provide games, snacks, music, and ask for donations at the door. Your only pool party requirements for this easy event are fun & sun! Email swim@mymsaa.org to start planning your event.

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However you choose to show your support for the MS community, MSAA would like to wish you and yours a safe and enjoyable summer. If you or a loved one struggle with MS symptoms during the summer heat, please visit our website to learn more about MSAA’s Cooling Program or call MSAA’s Helpline at (800) 532-7667 ext. 154.

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The Benefits of Aquatic Exercise and MS

By: Matt Cavallo

matt blog

Walking was always something that I took for granted until that one day that I couldn’t do it anymore. Then, as I watched the world walk by me, I yearned to be up on my feet ambling about. The problem was that no matter how strong my mind and determination were, my legs would simply not respond. It was hard for me to understand that the problem was in my spine and no amount of mental fortitude could overcome the spinal lesions caused by multiple sclerosis.

I was confined to small, assisted steps. I was able to travel only from my bed or couch to the bathroom and back. My wife brought food and drinks to me when she was home but when she was at work, I usually didn’t eat or drink. I was ashamed that I lost functionality the way I did. I didn’t want people to take pity upon me. I had always been this big, strong athletic guy and now I couldn’t even walk down three steps to get out of my house.

My doctor was confident that I could regain functionality and learn how to walk again. I wasn’t so sure. He said that the Solu-medrol would act to reduce the swelling in my spine, and little by little sensation would return to my legs. He did caution me that I would have to relearn how to walk and ordered me to have aquatic therapy. I was skeptical, but I gave it a shot.

The results were truly amazing. When I started exercising in the pool, my legs felt lighter and easier to move. The exercises really help to strengthen and balance me on my feet. While I was in the water, I felt free again. After three weeks of aquatic therapy, I was walking with a cane for short distances. I was not negotiating steps or hills, but I could get around the house on my own. More importantly, I was able to go to the bathroom again by myself. I was amazed at my progress. In just three short weeks, I was completely independent with walking.

Today, if you saw me in the street you wouldn’t think that I ever lost function of my legs. One of my secrets is that I continue to work out in the pool. I live in Arizona and can use my pool most of the year.

Now, if you are having immediate problems with strength, balance or mobility, you should contact your physician right away. If you are looking for a strengthening exercise routine that you can do on your own, you’ve come to the right place.

MSAA has a new online Aquatic Center that you can access at http://SwimForMS.org. The Aquatic Center has tools and inspirational videos for the MS community. Some of the resources include: guides for patients and healthcare professionals, a handy tip sheet about aquatic exercise and MS, information on how to find an aquatics facility in your area, and inspirational videos from three individuals sharing their personal stories about how water activities have positively impacted their lives.

Even if you don’t live in Arizona, you can still turn any pool, at any time into your own personal gym while raising awareness for MS.

*Matt Cavallo was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2005. Matt is an MS blogger, author, patient advocate, and motivational speaker. Matt also has his Master’s degree in Public Health Administration. Matt is the proud father of his two sons, loving husband to his wife, Jocelyn, and best friend to his dog, Teddy. Originally from the Boston suburbs, Matt currently resides in Arizona with his family. To learn more about Matt, please visit him at : http://mattcavallo.com/blog/

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Swim Cap Giveaway – Sign Up to Swim for MS

swim cap giveaway

Temperatures are rising across many parts of the country, and people with and without MS will soon be looking for a way to keep cool or have fun in the summer sun. Therefore, now may be the perfect opportunity to start learning more about MSAA’s Swim for MS initiative.

Swim for MS is a 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) and the MS community. Swim for MS is unique because MSAA does not plan the event – you do! Your fundraiser can be as unique as you want it to be.

Your own Swim for MS fundraiser can take many different forms. Many individuals participate in ongoing Swim for MS fundraisers as well as in one-day events. Some choose to swim outdoors, while others love the convenience of an indoor pool. In addition, many Swim for MS fundraisers involve teams filled with passionate swimmers who all have one goal in mind – improving lives for the MS community. You can see several examples of such fundraisers by visiting SwimForMS.org.

MSAA is also pleased to announce that we are giving away Swim for MS swim caps to every participant who registers for Swim for MS in May! Sign up within the next ten days to receive your official Swim for MS welcome kit, as well as our new Swim for MS swim cap! In addition to the swim cap in May, we have added one more surprise Swim for MS item to registration boxes this month. You’ll just have to register to find out what it is!

Besides the Swim for MS fundraising component, Swim for MS also features an online Aquatic Center, which contains resources for people living with MS who wish to learn more about how aquatic exercise can benefit them. For individuals who may have difficulty with traditional land-based activities, the unique properties of water combined with its cool temperature can create an inviting and sometimes ideal exercise environment for people with MS. Visit the online Aquatic Center to learn more.

Visit SwimForMS.org to learn more

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Announcing MSAA’s New Online Aquatic Center

Online Aquatic Center

MSAA is pleased to unveil the Swim for MS online Aquatic Center at SwimForMS.org – an exciting new resource for individuals with MS and healthcare professionals.

Swimming and other forms of water-based exercise have well-established health benefits for many fitness levels. For people diagnosed with MS, the cooling and buoyant properties of water can create an ideal exercise environment allowing for movements that may not be possible on land, while keeping them from overheating. Research suggests that the benefits of water-based exercise for individuals with MS include improved flexibility, muscle strength, mobility function, psychological well-being, and overall quality of life.

The Swim for MS online Aquatic Center features resources developed to help you learn more about aquatic exercise, including the following sections:

• About Aquatic Exercise and MS – Comprehensive information about the benefits of aquatic exercise and how water-based activities can be adapted to fit all levels of ability Tip Sheetand types of MS
• Aquatic Resources – Tips and suggestions on how to begin an aquatic exercise program and where to find a pool in your area
• Multimedia Center – Inspirational videos of people living with MS who incorporate swimming and aquatic classes into their healthy lifestyle plan
• For Healthcare Professionals – Research findings and supportive information on aquatic exercise and MS for neurologists, physical therapists, rehab specialists, and aquatic fitness instructors

To learn more about aquatic exercise and MS, please visit our new online Aquatic Center at SwimForMS.org!

The Swim for MS online Aquatic Center has been developed through a collaborative sponsorship with Genzyme, a Sanofi company.

pool

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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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Happy First Day of Summer!

While for many the “unofficial” start of summer is Memorial Day weekend, today is the summer solstice, which is the astrological start of the summer season. Typically this is the longest day of the year. This doesn’t mean our day has more than 24 hours in it – we just have more sunlight than any other day.

So what better way to enjoy all that sunlight than to jump into the pool for Swim for MS?!AWP_2012-MissyFranklin-7816

For those of you who do not know, Swim for MS is MSAA’s signature volunteer initiative which allows individuals to create their own swimming fundraising event while recruiting online donations to support MSAA’s mission of improving lives today.

How can you Swim for MS?IMG_5562

  • Host a summer pool party on the weekend!
  • Set a goal to swim 500 laps throughout the summer to raise $1,000!
  • Create a pool volleyball tournament with your friends!
  • Host a July 4th Pool Party
  • Participate in Swim for MS and pledge to swim 100 laps and improve your fitness by the end of summer!

For more information on how you can Swim for MS, please visit swimforms.org!

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