Apr 12, 2013
EAST HADDAM, Conn.—Team Taggart Motorsports claimed it would fight to the finish. But with the recent loss of patriarch Edward Taggart, captain Kelsey Roberts acknowledges they may be momentarily derailed. However, determined to press through the grief and sorrow, she and her teammates, including her 11-year-old brother, Joey, say they will continue the race her grandfather started – a race to checkered-flag victory against MS.
“I grew up with my grandfather always by my side,” shared Roberts, 21, who Taggart named captain of his Walk MS team when she was just 12 years old. “He was the one who drove me to dance practice when I was a child, and he continued to support me even when his mobility began to fail. Now that he has passed, it is my responsibility to carry on his legacy in fighting the disease against which he battled bravely-multiple sclerosis.”
Taggart, 70, of Colchester, passed away Tuesday, March 26. An avid fan of racing, Taggart was the second generation of racers in his family. He has since instilled his passion in his grandson who now races under his grandfather’s number, “2.”
Taggart was diagnosed with MS in 1996, and started participating in the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter’s annual Walk MS in 1997. After walking as an individual the first year, Taggart began to organize Team Taggart Motorsports, a fundraising team supporting Walk MS.
Supported by family and friends, Team Taggart Motorsports has raised more than $20,000 since its start. The team will add a few more laps to their total at this year’s Walk MS, presented by Travelers, on Sunday, April 21, in New London.
More than 6,000 Connecticut residents live with multiple sclerosis, a potentially debilitating disease. The cause is unknown and there is currently no cure. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot be predicted. Funds raised ensure ongoing scientific research to find a cure and provide for the continuation of vital programs and services offered by the chapter to Connecticut residents affected by MS.
Roberts, who began writing donation request letters in grade school, organizes the team. With a goal of raising $2,000 this year, Roberts is inviting her friends and family to join Team Taggart Motorsports.
“My grandfather had a lot of friends in the racing community,” shared Roberts, who is also selling custom team t-shirts that read, ‘We’ll fight ‘til the end.’ “I would love for them to honor his memory by supporting our team.”
Funds raised by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Connecticut Chapter, through events such as Walk MS, presented by Travelers, ensure ongoing scientific research to find better treatments and a cure, and provide vital programs and services offered by the chapter.
Walk MS participants will walk at 12 different sites across the state Sunday, April 21. Lunch is provided compliments of Subway restaurants and Coca-Cola.
Walk MS community partners include News 8, WUVN / WHTX Univision, Clear Channel Radio Connecticut, to include The River 105.9, Country 92.5, KISS 95.7, ESPN 1410 AM, KC 101.3, 960 WELI, and ESPN 1300 AM. Other community partners include 95.9 THE FOX, WCTY 97.7 and Associated Neurologists of Southern Connecticut, P.C.
“My grandfather loved to participate in the walk, some years even driving a golf cart along the walk route,” remembered Roberts. “More recently, he could only join us for Walk MS if the weather was perfect. This year, I know my Grandpa will be joining us on the course- this time in spirit.”
To register with Team Taggart Motorsports or to donate to the team, visit main.nationalmssociety.org/goto/Taggart. To learn more about the 2013 Walk MS, presented by Travelers, please visit www.ctfightsms.org.