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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.


Simsbury Resident Gets His Irish Up For MS

January 19, 2012

5th Annual Event Brings St. Patty's Day a Month Early

FARMINGTON, Conn. - February means it’s time to dust off your favorite green ensemble and even bring your green hat! It’s time for the 5th Annual Get Your Irish Up For MS!, a fundraising event hosted by Simsbury resident Michael O’Toole.

On Saturday, Feb. 25 from 6:30 to 11 p.m. the Farmington Marriott will transform itself into a small version of Ireland for the annual event, which honors O’Toole’s late mother, who fought an aggressive form of the disease until her passing in 2006.

“MS has been a part of my life since just days after I was born.” said O’Toole, a West Hartford native. “My mother dealt with the debilitating effects of MS for more than 25 years and serves as an inspiration to myself and others for her courage and strong will.  We miss her every day and are happy we can remember her is such a way that will directly help others fighting MS today.”

After his mother’s passing, O’Toole admitted he was angry but, eventually, he decided to channel his feelings into a more positive direction and created the Get Your Irish Up For MS! fundraiser in 2007.

“Over the past four years, Get Your Irish Up For MS! has raised more than $60,000 to help people living with the effects of multiple sclerosis,” he said. “I know firsthand that can be devastating for a family and I want to make my mark against this unpredictable and baffling disease.”

get your irish up
Simsbury resident Michael O'Toole poses with his wife, Jennifer, and daughter Corrine, 2, at last year's Get Your Irish Up for MS! event. Last year's event raised $20,000 for the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter, in honor of O'Toole's late mother, who fought an aggressive form of MS until her passing in 2006. This year's Get Your Irish Up For MS! will be held Saturday, Feb. 25 from 6:30 to 11 p.m. at the Farmington Marriott in Farmington. For more information, visit

The 2012 event features a night of Irish music, dancing, drink and fare all to benefit the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter. The night includes a Pour Your Own Guinness station to make sure everyone can pour a perfect pint. Guests can sample various marks of Irish whiskey accompanied by a certified whiskey expert. There will also be an Irish cultural display and an Irish-themed buffet dinner. Guests will have a chance to enter drawings for prizes, including a luxury vacation in Ireland for two valued at nearly $3,000.

The Jolly Beggars will perform traditional Celtic music at the event followed by Calley McGrane & the Exiles, a band that performs Irish and Celtic alternative rock tunes. The West Hartford-based Coogan School of Irish Dance will perform some Irish step dancing.

For a fourth consecutive year, WFSB Channel 3 Eyewitness News This Morning anchor Irene O’Connor has been named the event’s honorary chairperson. The daughter of Irish immigrants, the Hartford-born anchor has performed and competed regionally and internationally as an Irish step dancer.

More than 6,000 Connecticut residents live with the effects of multiple sclerosis. The cause is unknown, and, as a result, there currently is no cure. Symptoms can include, among other things, numbness in the limbs, difficulties with vision and speech, stiffness and, in some more severe cases, total paralysis. The progress, severity, and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot be predicted.

Funds raised through events, such as the Get Your Irish Up For MS!, for the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter, ensure ongoing scientific research to find a cure and provide for the continuation of vital programs and services offered by the chapter.

Tickets are $75 per person or tables of 10 for $700. The Marriott Hotel is located at 15 Farm Springs Road in Farmington. For more information on Get Your Irish Up For MS! or to purchase tickets, please contact Michael O’Toole at 860-402-6513 or visit

To learn more about multiple sclerosis and the many ways to get involved, please visit the 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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