I Run to Stop MS is a different kind of fundraiser. For many, the appeal of the freedom to choose dates, locations and running distances is a major draw. For Paul Goldstone, who created this event, it fills an inherent need.
“I need to help people,” he said, “and I think others do too, even if they don’t realize it.”
Goldstone runs for his father, who lives with MS. His diagnosis has affected the entire family, which appears to be a negative, said Goldstone, but it also came with some positives. It helped bring the family closer together and helped inspire the launch of I Run to Stop MS in 2007.
The event came about when Goldstone was picked in a lottery to participate in the New York Marathon. “People started offering me sponsorship,” he said, “and I told them to cut a check to the MS Society.” He called the Greater Delaware Valley staff, and I Run to Stop MS was born.
And it keeps on growing. Since its inception, I Run to Stop MS participants have raised more than $150,000. Now in its fifth year, Goldstone says his father, who is “very traditional and has trouble asking for anything,” is finally acknowledging the event and showing gratitude for what his son has done. “That really meant a lot to me,” said Goldstone. “He was so bogged down by the ugly reality” of life with MS.
Goldstone believes doing good things like this generates good karma. In fact, he captains the team KarmaStriders, which is made up of runners from across the world. “We’ve had runners from Germany, Puerto Rico and Michigan,” he said. “We’re a good gang. We’re just trying to raise funds and awareness through endurance athletics.”
His favorite events are “by far the Ironman Lake Placid” and the Philadelphia Marathon. That’s what’s great about this event, he said. “There’s no structure. You have complete freedom. You can do anything from walking a 5K to completing an ultra-marathon or Ironman, and everything in between.”
He encourages everyone to get involved by running or donating. "We don't have to be there for others," he said. "We get to be there for others. We're the lucky ones."