Rochester, NY- Rachel Klink, a sophomore at the University of Rochester, is rallying the U of R campus for Walk MS 2014 in Rochester. Klink, captain of Walk MS team Tafel-Strong, is determined to mobilize her friends and peers for this year’s event. Her primary goal is to raise awareness about multiple sclerosis, an often disabling disease of the central nervous system that suddenly impacted her family last month. Klink’s mother, Shelley Tafel-LaFave, was diagnosed with MS in January, and now Klink wants others to learn about this disease that affects at least two to three times more women than men.
“Before my mother was diagnosed, I had never heard about this terrible disease, and many people I know don’t know anything about MS,” said Klink, “So I am trying to raise awareness while getting more people involved with the Walk MS event.”
Klink, a Syracuse native, stumbled upon the Walk MS event while perusing the National MS Society Upstate New York Chapter’s website.
“My entire family is participating in Walk MS in Syracuse in support of my mom, but I did not have the ability to travel to the event,” said Klink. “When I found out that there is an event right across the street from me at Genesee Valley Park, I knew the convenient location would give me a chance to support my mom and encourage others here to get involved too.”
MS Awareness Week is March 3 – 9, and this week is dedicated to spreading awareness of multiple sclerosis and encouraging people to Join the Movement® against MS. Klink says, at the end of the week and beyond, she hopes her efforts will have accomplished just that: raising awareness while recruiting as many participants and raising as much money as possible.
Klink receives her motivation from her mother’s positive attitude and strong will. The collective support and encouragement from friends and community members have been essential for Klink’s mother and immediate family. Klink hopes that she can show her support and gather even more support through Walk MS and the University of Rochester.
“I don’t feel like I can do much because my mother is the one with the disease,” said Klink, “but I am going to try to do whatever I can to help her, and Walk MS is a great start.”
Walk MS is a major rallying point for the Upstate New York Chapter, and funds raised by participants support more than 12,800 people living with MS in the 50 counties served by the chapter. Fundraising dollars also support life changing programs and cutting-edge research.
At present, Team Tafel-Strong has nine team members, but Klink believes that her mother’s story will spread quickly from student to student.
Klink remains optimistic and plans to send a group photo of Team Tafel-Strong to her mother on the day of the event to say: “You are not alone in your fight against MS.”
To make a pledge to Team Tafel-Strong or to get involved in Walk MS, visit walkMSupstateny.org.
What: Walk MS 2014: Rochester
Where: Genesee Valley Park, 133 Elmwood Avenue, Rochester NY 14611
When: Sunday, May 4; registration 9 a.m.; opening ceremony 9:55 a.m.
How: Participants can register on site the day of the event, or online at walkMSupsateny.org.
For more information, contact Rachel Klink, 315-456-8129, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Ashley Greenman, Senior Manager of Community Engagement, 585-271-0805 (x70322), Ashley.Greenman@NMSS.org.