What are your plans? Support the MS community this Monday

By Kimberly Goodrich, Senior Director of Development

Getting through the obligations of the Holiday season can be taxing. Sometimes it seemsMLK Day with logo
as if every waking moment is scheduled with items to do or places to be. As we ease into the New Year, it’s nice to take a day to slow down, breathe, and do something that feels good rather than simply crossing things off my To Do list.

Despite the busyness of the holidays, I like to take a little time around now to reflect on how grateful I am for the opportunity to be with family and friends. Current research asserts there are numerous health benefits related to gratitude. Taking time on a regular basis to list the things you are grateful for yields better sleep, improved health outcomes and higher overall satisfaction with life. And it’s easier than pushups!

This brings us to Monday.

mlkday200x200On Monday we will celebrate the spirit and generosity of Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1994, Congress declared the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday as a day of service. Dr. King believed we all had a duty to serve others and that through our collective actions, social problems could be solved. Rather than taking the day off, we are encouraged to find ways, big or small, that we can give, benefitting our community and spreading gratitude.

 

What are your plans for this day of service?

Keep in mind that not all service requires a great deal of time or money. Kindness can fill a need as easily as dollars. There are many ways to volunteer or serve:
MLK Day infographic

I’m looking forward to Monday. Having made a list of things I’m grateful for, I hope to awaken feeling rested and positive. I will share those feelings by spending time volunteering for a disabled sports group I’ve been involved with for several years. Afterwards I plan to make a donation to a few groups that are important to me and relax with family. Now that’s a To Do list to be grateful for.

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*About Kimberly

I am the Senior Director of Development at MSAA and have worked in the nonprofit arena for over 15 years. I love reading, running, theatre and the Green Bay Packers. I volunteer with the Disabled American Veterans teaching outdoor sports like skiing and kayaking to injured veterans and find that I receive much more from them than I am able to give.

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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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Parting Thoughts…

The following is a post from Amanda Bednar, MSAA’s Manager of Community Relations, who will be sadly leaving us after 9 years of being a part of the MSAA family. We will miss her!

For the past nine and half years I have enjoyed being a part of the staff at MSAA as well as the larger multiple sclerosis (MS) community. When I first started here, I came aboard wanting to learn more about multiple sclerosis but more importantly, combine my skills as a communications professional and my desire to make a difference into a career. Looking back, I can certainly say that my career at MSAA has been all of that and more. I have come to have a profound respect not only for the MS community but for my colleagues and the work that is done to make sure MSAA’s mission continues. I am honored to have worked with so many kind and generous individuals.

The one thing I will miss the most are the emails and testimonials that I have been able to read from you, our clients. Every time I read a guest post in this blog or meet an individual at a program or speak with a client about their Stories to Inspire column in The Motivator, I am often left awestruck at the resiliency and determination of the MS community.

While I am leaving my day-to-day duties at MSAA, I will not be leaving the MS community. I plan on transitioning into a volunteer role, where I hope to still be able to continue supporting MSAA’s mission of improving lives today!

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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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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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World MS Day 2013

Wednesday, May 29, 2013 is World MS Day.  To mark this occasion MSAA will be participating in a Twitter Chat with Healthline at 11 AM today. To join the chat please visit:http://www.healthline.com/health/27487.

To help raise awareness of what it is like living with multiple sclerosis the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation created a video of six inspiring young people from around the world have shared their mottos for identity, relationships and the future.

What’s your Motto? from World MS Day on Vimeo.

MSAA encourages to show your support for World MS Day and inspire the world by sharing a motto that gives you strength, even in the most challenging of times.

 

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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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