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The Connecticut Chapter works to improve the quality of life for people affected by MS in Connecticut and raise funds for critical MS research. Join the movement toward a world free of MS.



November 12, 2012

Sean Sierra, West Hartford; Stephanie Sfiridis,Manchester; and Kevin O’Connell, West Hartford; pose at the 2011 Santa Pub Crawl while at Pig’s Eye Pub in downtown Hartford. Sfiridis is a former public relations intern with the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter. O’Connell and his rugby team, the Hartford Wanderers, have been hosting the charity pub crawl for the past six years.

Seventh Annual Santa Pub Crawl to Benefit MS

HARTFORD, Conn. – Look out Hartford; Santa Claus is coming to town.

Christmas spirit will ring through the streets of Hartford as more than 100 Santas descend on Hartford for a worthy cause.

On Saturday, Dec. 1, downtown Hartford taverns and their patrons will be joined by more than 200 Santas, elves and other holiday figures during the seventh annual Santa Charity Pub Tour to benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Connecticut Chapter.

“For the past three years, we’ve had about 200 Santas come out for the pub crawl. Last year we raised more than $4,000 to help in the fight against multiple sclerosis,” said West Hartford resident Kevin O’Connell, coordinator of the annual event. “The event is made up of merry individuals who enjoy having a good time – especially if it’s for a worthy cause.”

O’Connell is a member of the Hartford Wanderers Rugby Club. In 2006, the first pub crawl took shape when members of the rugby team donned Santa suits and popped into Hartford pubs to spread holiday goodwill. The event has grown in size each year, with donations coming from the participating bars, additional sponsors and the individual fundraising efforts of the Santas.

“I have friends who are battling the effects of multiple sclerosis,” O’Connell shared. “We found a unique way to celebrate the season and an even more distinctive way to fundraise for a great cause.”

The signature aspect of the event takes place when the Santas congregate at the top of Pratt Street. After some caroling, a bell rings, signaling the Running of the Santas down Pratt Street toward Main Street.

“The restaurants and pubs have been amazing to us,” O’Connell said. “They have all contributed generously to ensure a spot on Santa’s nice list.”

More than 6,000 Connecticut residents live with multiple sclerosis, a chronic and often disabling disease of the central nervous system. There currently is no cure. The progress, severity, and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot be predicted.

The Santa Charity Pub Tour is an example of Do It Yourself fundraising. Funds raised through Do It Yourself fundraising events ensure ongoing scientific research to find a cure and provide for the continuation of vital programs and services offered by the chapter.

All are welcome to participate in the seventh annual Santa Charity Pub Tour. Santa suits are not required, but holiday attire is encouraged. There is a suggested $10 pledge to participate.

For more information on the Santa pub crawl and a list of participating pubs and taverns, please visit, or contact Kevin O’Connell at 860-995-7206, or

To learn more about Do It Yourself Fundraising, multiple sclerosis and the many ways to become involved, please visit the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter’s website at


About the Connecticut Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society

The Connecticut Chapter strives to provide knowledge and assistance to help people with MS and their families maintain the highest possible quality of life. These goals are achieved through vital national and local programs.

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide.


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