Last Thursday, Nov. 13, people with and affected by MS gathered to celebrate a successful year of community efforts and fundraisers through the MS Society.
“The entire evening is dedicated to, really, the heroes who make up our organization, from fundraisers to volunteers, people living with MS,” said Johanna Green, Lakeland regional director for the Lloydminster Chapter of the MS Society.
“2014 has just been a stellar year for us again with the MS Society and that is a huge credit to everyone involved in fundraisers to donors, community partners and volunteers. We couldn’t do it without every single one of those people.”
From the MS Carnation Campaign to the A&W Cruisin’ to End MS, the MS Society was able to rake in $260,000 this year, with $80,000 going toward MS research and the rest going toward local services and programs, but one activity really made the difference this year.
“This year our highlight was certainly our Lloydminster MS Walk and Run, raising a milestone record of $200,000 for the first time in history. It’s something we’re so proud of,” said Green.
This year also saw a record high attendance for the MS Kids Kamp, which sees children learning about MS.
“Stephen Bowman is 12 years old, he’s been involved in the MS Society for a number of years, coming to our MS Kid’s Kamp every summer,” said Green.
While Stephen began as a participant at the camp, as he grew older, he decided to become a volunteer. And that got him some official recognition from the MS Society, through a new award category.
“We have a special award category tonight called Young Heroes,” said Green. “These are young people who are affected by MS through a family member or friend and have given back to the organization in a way that is very meaningful.”
Bowman, along with eight-year-old Nicholas Fowler, who made bracelets to raise over $6,000 for the Lloydminster MS Society, are two kids who received Young Heroes Awards that night.
“This is the next generation, the future of our organization,” said Green.
Throughout the evening, a presentation was held which outlined all the supports the MS Society received over 2014. A short video was also screened which showed the progress made in MS research. As for the year ahead, Green is optimistic.
“Just keep the momentum going,” she said. “We clearly have a phenomenal group of people backing us that are the reason that we exist. And so with these people and supporters behind us, the sky is the limit.
“We are going to continue on our mission to support people living with MS, to live the highest quality of lives possible and hopefully, be able to fuel that cure sooner than later.”