Recently, my son Steve approached me with an idea. “Mom, how about we create a mother and son team supporting MSAA for the Disney Marathon Weekend?” Having participated before with TeamMSAA in the Disney events and getting the opportunity to do this with my son, I was all in with his great suggestion. It also made me think about how thankful I am to have his support as a team member in our collective efforts to raise funds and awareness for the MS community.
As summer is winding down, we reflect on the fun we had with family and friends relaxing and trying to stay cool – backyard barbeques, trips to the beach, ice cream cones, and time spent poolside. But for individuals living with MS, staying cool during the summer can be a challenge. That is why the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America provides free cooling vests and accessories to qualified individuals with MS, throughout the summer and all year long.
As you can imagine, symptom-management products such as cooling vests come at a significant cost. MSAA relies on a community of supporters stepping up to make a difference. Our DIY fundraising platform makes it easy for anyone to set up an MSAA donation page for their fundraising event or campaign.
In fact, setting up his fundraising page was the easiest thing Richard Core did all summer, who raised $6,000 for MSAA with his Richard’s Ride Across America.
A father is a very important role in a young girl’s life. I remember growing up thinking that no one was as strong or capable as my dad, Dan Scharett. He worked hard to support our family. He built the house I grew up in and he even came home from work and chopped wood for the wood stove we used for heating. I knew there was nothing my dad couldn’t do. Then, when I was still quite small, the most shocking thing happened; my dad broke his leg while playing softball at a family function. He had been running to a base and when he turned, his one leg didn’t, and it snapped. While everyone else simply thought nothing of it, I cried nonstop. He was a superhero and to see him get injured was something I couldn’t comprehend. What we later learned was that he had been experiencing numbness in his feet and legs which ultimately caused his fall; numbness caused by multiple sclerosis.
As a family, we’ve spent 25 years watching his gradual decline. The man who could do it all slowly lost his ability to chop wood for the wood stove, he couldn’t climb the stairs in the house he built, and now he can’t even stand. Despite this, he still laughs every day. He jokes around with our family, friends and neighbors. He still pushes himself to do things around the house and yard that even the healthiest individuals would hire someone to do. It was his motivation and drive that inspired me to run the Dopey Challenge at the 2018 Walt Disney World Marathon. Seeing him fight to live a fulfilled life despite his MS motivates me to do things I would normally consider too hard. I wanted to run with Team MSAA during this event to help raise money in my dad’s honor, so when I saw the Dopey Challenge, which consists of a 5K, 10K, Half Marathon and Full Marathon, totaling 48.6 miles, I knew I had to choose that event. I am by no means an athletic individual, but if he can push himself every day, then the greatest thing I could do to show my appreciation for all he has done for our family, is to run the furthest and push myself outside of my comfort zone.
I truly hope that one day a cure will be found for MS but until then, organizations like the MSAA are a great resource for families like my own. I am proud to be able to fundraise and contribute to such a wonderful organization…. My dad will be there when I cross the finish line, supporting me, just like he has always done; after all, he is still my superhero.
*Rachael is participating in the Dopey Challenge as a member of Team MSAA during the Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna®. To learn more about Rachael’s run or support Team MSAA, please check out her personal page.