Despite a chill in the air, long lines formed at registration tables on Sunday, April 21. More than 9,500 participants across Connecticut stepped out for the 2013 Walk MS, presented by Travelers, at 12 sites to join the fight against multiple sclerosis, a disease that affects 6,000 people in our state.
CUTLINE: Amy White, Coventry; Marsha Flowers, Reno, Nev.; Lisa Gerrol, West Hartford; and Bob Flowers, Bolton; pose before the start of the 2013 Walk MS, held Sunday, April 21, inManchester. Gerrol is president of the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter, which hosts the annual walk fundraiser, which has been sponsored by Travelers since 1997. Bob Flowers is a managing director at Travelers Insurance. He participates on the Travelers Walk MS fundraising team. Bob Flowers was named the state’s individual top event fundraiser last year, having raised more than $40,000 to help assist 6,000 Connecticut residents living with MS, a potentially debilitating disease. White, who works for Travelers Insurance, is also a member of the Travelers Walk MS fundraising team. To date the Travelers team has raise more than $50,000 toward a $70,000. The April 21 walk event attracted more than 9,500 participants, about 1,100 walkers in Manchester. To date the 2013 Walk MS, presented by Travelers, has raised $985,000 toward a $1.4 million goal. Last year’s Walk MS raised a record $1.38 million. Individuals and teams are encouraged to continue raising funds through May 31, the official deadline for prizes. Suggestions for increasing fundraising totals include, launching letter writing campaigns, utilizing social media networking sites to reach out to contacts and hosting fun-filled wrap around events, such as backyard barbeques, beer and wine tastings, and theme parties. For more information on Walk MS, presented by Travelers, to donate to a team or for ideas on Do It Yourself Fundraising, visit www.ctfightsMS.org.
To date, the 2013 Walk MS has raised $1.1 million toward a $1.4 million goal. Last year, Walk MS raised $1.38 million. Currently, there are many teams who have not yet met their fundraising goal. But, Walk MS participants still have time. Individuals and teams are encouraged to continue raising funds through Friday, May 31, the official deadline for prizes.
“The deadline for prizes is extended beyond the Sunday, April 21, walk day to allow walkers and team captains the opportunity to host spring wrap-around events,” shared Nicole Marohn, vice president of development for the Connecticut Chapter. “When the weather starts to warm up, there are more opportunities to gather friends together and raise money for the cause.”
Suggestions for increasing fundraising totals include launching letter writing campaigns, utilizing social media networking sites to reach out to contacts, and hosting barbeques, beer and wine tastings or theme parties. Tag sales, craft fairs and car washes are also great ways to organize your team once again to raise a few dollars.
In addition to creating a world free of MS, this year the Connecticut Chapter is adding an extra incentive to the mix. Eligible walkers who continue to fundraise will be entered to win an overnight stay at Mohegan Sun Casino along with a $100 gift certificate for dinner at Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain or Todd English’s Tuscany.
To be eligible, participants must move up one or more prize levels. Each increased level earns one entry in the drawing. Prize levels are as follows: Level 1 prizes are awarded to fundraising totals between $250 and $799; Level 2 totals $800 to $1,299; Level 3 totals $1,300 to $2,499; Level 4 totals $2,500 to $4,999; Level 5 totals $5,000 to $7,499; and Level 6 includes fundraising totals from $7,500 to $9,999.
“The most important part about any event the Connecticut Chapter hosts is getting dollars in the door so that we, in turn, can help those in our community affected by multiple sclerosis,” said Marohn. “The sooner the money comes in, the faster we can put it into action for those we serve. But, giving away prizes in the process is fun, too!”
Individuals who raise $250 or more will receive a prize certificate by mail after the prize deadline on May 31, 2013. Prize levels apply to each individual walker’s total, not the team total. This year’s prizes vary from gym bags, blankets and jackets to Reaction Journey 21-speed bicycles for men and women.
One Bridgeport woman, whose husband battles MS, has gone as far organizing an entire event to boost her fundraising totals. Cynthia Lucero, team captain of The G Team; Good People, Doing Good Things, is partnering with 1691 Café Lounge in Bridgeport to host the first-ever Comedy For A Cause, an evening of entertainment to support the fight against multiple sclerosis. Lucero’s husband, Eddie Gutierrez, was diagnosed with MS in 2006. So far, the team has raised $3,492 of a $5,000 goal.
Comedy For A Cause will take place Friday, May 17, and will feature Sara Contreras, better known as the Latin diva of comedy. Other standup comedians include Corey Fernandez, Angelo Lozada and Chris Clarke.
Whether you partner with a local business, like Cynthia Luerco did to host Comedy Night, or send an email to colleagues asking to donate any spare change from the week, every bit counts. And the possibilities are truly endless.
A full listing of prizes within each level can be viewed on www.ctfightsMS.org. If you have any questions about fundraising, contact the Development Department at 860.913.2550. For more information on Walk MS, presented by Travelers, to donate to a team or for more ideas on Do It Yourself Fundraising, visit www.ctfightsMS.org.