It has been 10 years since Deb Gates of Vernon Hills first participated in Walk MS, and on Sunday, May 4, she will join her team once again at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Greater Illinois Chapter’s biggest annual fundraiser. “Deb’s Team,” made up of family and friends, will be walking at the North Shore site at Attea Middle School in Glenview (2500 Chestnut Ave.). Registration opens at 8 a.m., and the Walk begins at 9 a.m. As one of 11 Walk MS events statewide, the North Shore Walk brings people together to celebrate the progress and powerful connections made in the movement to end MS and raises funds for critical MS research, programs and services.
Gates was diagnosed with MS in February 2004, but she doesn’t let that slow her down.
“For the most part, it doesn’t affect my daily life,” said Gates. “I still work full-time and run around to all the different activities my boys participate in.”
Gates first took part in Walk MS several months after her diagnosis, and since then she has participated in all but two years of the event. She continues to walk each year because she believes in the mission of the National MS Society and all that it does for people living with MS.
“Walk MS is important to help fund scientific research and to also give back to those in the Greater Illinois MS Community who need assistance,” said Gates. “I’m very appreciative of those who spend countless hours fundraising on our [MS patients] behalf as well as those who are involved in organizing the event.”
In 2012, her family was unable to join the Walk, but Gates wasn’t going to let that affect her fundraising efforts. She organized her first bowling fundraiser that August and raised $3,000 for the National MS Society. Its success led to another bowling fundraiser in 2013, which raised $3,500. The fundraiser has become a tradition along with Walk MS, and Gates looks forward to doing both events in 2014. Through all the challenges and successes of events and fundraisers, Gates stays positive and encourages other people with MS to do the same.
“Take control of the diagnosis — don’t let it control you,” said Gates.
To find out more about Walk MS 2014 or to register or donate online, contact Samantha Edidin at 312.423.1156 or at email@example.com, or visit walkMSillinois.org.
Multiple Sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease that interrupts the flow of information in the central nervous system, which includes the brain, spinal cord and optic nerve. The Greater Illinois Chapter mobilizes people and resources to drive research for a cure and to address the challenges of more than 20,000 individuals in Illinois and 2.3 million worldwide affected by MS.
For more information, visit MSillinois.org.