To host dinner fundraising event for 2013 MS Challenge Walk
CHESTER, Conn. – Kristen Olson has supported the fight against multiple sclerosis ever since someone close to her was diagnosed in 1997, but it wasn’t enough.
“Anytime someone close to you is battling a disease like this, it’s difficult to adequately express your support,” said Olson, a learning resources specialist for The Tessitura Network. “Sometimes, taking the extra step and doing something extreme really demonstrates commitment.”
In September 2011, Olson, who lives in Essex, did just that when she participated in the MS Challenge Walk in Cape Cod, Mass. Olson walked 50-miles over the course of three days and raised more than $1,800. Still, in her mind, it wasn’t enough. The experience engaged her further.
During the opening ceremonies, Olson met a woman from Long Island whose daughter was recently diagnosed with MS. Early into the walk, they realized they were unprepared for the challenge. But they leaned on each other and chatted their way through the 50-miles as their feet blistered. Ten minutes after they crossed the finish-line, the women signed up for the 2012 walk.
The following September, Olson returned as planned for the Thursday night reception before the walk. She waited to meet her friend and walking buddy, but she didn’t show up. Olson soon received a call – the woman’s daughter had been hospitalized (due to complications from her MS) the night prior. Her friend would not be able to walk with her. Again, Olson was inspired to do more.
“It really demonstrated to me that people’s lives are affected by this disease every day,” said Olson, 46. “I was sad to walk without my friend, but you never feel alone at the event. It’s a great group of people, everyone is so supportive. Every half mile, I felt like someone thanked me for walking. It’s such a great feeling.”
After raising $2,800 at this year’s walk, Olson still felt the urge to raise the bar for 2013. She upped her personal fundraising goal to $4,000.
To help boost her fundraising, Olson will partner with a new, local restaurant in Chester, called Six Main, to host a dinner event.
When Olson approached Six Main, chef and owner, Rachel Carr, immediately wanted to help out. Carr, who relocated to Chester from Los Angeles to open her restaurant, has a friend in Los Angeles who lives with MS.
“I wanted to host the event for two reasons,” said Olson. “First, to raise money for MS, but also to support this new restaurant that offers delicious food with great health benefits.”
Six Main will close their doors to the public on Sunday, Nov. 4, at 6 p.m. and offer two options for a three-course, chef’s choice prix fixe dinner. Each meal option will be vegan and gluten free. The cost for the dinner is $60 per person, which includes appetizer, entrée, one wine pairing, dessert, coffee and gratuity. Fifteen percent of the evening’s proceeds will be donated to support Olson’s third 50-mile MS Challenge Walk in 2013 to benefit the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter, and those it serves.
“The night is a win-win for me,” said Olson. “Six Main was gracious enough to accommodate my event, so I’m happy to help introduce people to a restaurant that they maybe wouldn’t try otherwise. I’m sure people are going to love the delicious food Six Main has to offer.”
More than 6,000 Connecticut residents live with the effects of multiple sclerosis. The cause is unknown, and, as a result, there currently is no cure. Symptoms can include, among other things, numbness in the limbs, difficulties with vision and speech, stiffness and, in some more severe cases, total paralysis. The progress, severity, and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot be predicted.
Six Main is located at 6 Main St. in Chester, Conn. Seating is limited. Call 860-322-4212 or stop by the restaurant to purchase tickets and to arrange seating for your party.
For more information on Six Main, visit their website at sixmain.com.
For more information on multiple sclerosis and the MS Challenge Walk, to be held Saturday, Sept. 7, to Sunday, Sept. 8, in Cape Cod, Mass., visit www.ctfightsMS.org.