March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness month in Ohio. Throughout the state, communities are encouraging people to take at least one action to demonstrate their commitment to a world free of MS. The Northwest Ohio Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society has several events scheduled to raise funds and awareness for MS.
The “Women on the Move” luncheon, held by the local chapter of the MS Society, featured guest speaker Austin Carty from the hit CBS TV show “Survivor: Panama Exile Island.” The reality TV show competitor began learning about survival when his mother was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1999. Since then, Austin has constantly marveled at his mother’s determination to “outwit, outplay and outlast” her MS. Austin shared his story with the 300 women in attendance.
Tricia Courtney, director of media for the local chapter, reported that the event generated approximately $20,000 in income through ticket sales, sponsorships and the silent auction items at the luncheon.
Another organization working for the cause of MS this month is the MS Jam foundation. For the past 6 years, the MS Jam Foundation has held a day-long benefit concert to raise awareness about multiple sclerosis and money for the local chapter of the MS Society.
The MS Jam was started by Bill and Kathy Gross. When Bill was diagnosed with MS, he and his wife Kathy motivated their family and friends to “do what they can, while they can.” Now six years later, they have created a non-profit foundation and an annual family-friendly music festival that has given over $85,000 to the MS society.
The Gross’ attribute their success to over 75 family members and friends and are pleased that 100 percent of the proceeds of their fundraiser stay in northwest Ohio to help people living with MS. They are exceptionally proud that their children and grandchildren work with them and are gaining a passion for volunteerism.
“We are raising the next generation of volunteers, and they don’t even know it. They just think this is fun and what we do,” said Kathy Gross.
The Gross’ expect to raise $15,000 this year to hit the mark of giving $100,000 to the MS Society’s programs in our area.
Other MS awareness events include the MS Walk on Sunday, March 29 and the “Bike to the Bay” on Saturday and Sunday June 27 and 28. Visit nationalmssociety.org and click on the Toledo chapter for more information.
Christine Senack is a Toledo-based consultant helping non-profit organizations and businesses work smarter together for the greater good of our community. On occasion she also presents the TMZ Report on FOX Toledo News First at 4. Connect with her on www.facebook.com or follow at www.twitter.com/csenack
April 24: So You Know You Can Dance. This dance contest will benefit the BGSU Generation Next Leadership Award, which is a scholarship fo incoming BGSU freshman who exhibit tremendous leadership potential. The event includes a dance contest with cash prizes, open dancing, food and raffles. Tickets are $35. Visit bggenext.org for tickets or to enter the dance competition.
April 25: Luminations. Enjoy an exciting sampling of Toledo’s performing arts and a variety of gourmet cuisine while bidding on practical, creative and entertaining silent auction items. Proceeds benefit scholarship programs of Lourdes College. Black Tie Optional. Tickets are $125. Visit lourdes.edu or call (419)824-3751 for additional details.