Community invited to raise money to fight disease

SOUTH BEND — On May 5, Soldiers for Stef and an estimated 900 people will seek to raise more than $75,000 at Walk MS: South Bend, at Indiana University South Bend, 1700 Mishawaka Ave, South Bend.

Walk MS is an opportunity for people to come together with friends, loved ones and co-workers to fundraise, connect and advocate for people affected by multiple sclerosis. Each dollar raised is one step closer to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s goal – and potentially a world that is free of MS.

Since its inception in 1988, Walk MS has cumulatively raised more than $1 billion.

Soldiers for Stef was organized in 2014 to connect and advocate for people affected by MS.  The matriarch of Soldiers for Stef is Stefanie Woodrick, of Niles, who was diagnosed with MS in 2003. Her daughter, Leah Siderits, formerly of Niles, established Soldiers for Stef to support the quest for a cure. 

Since 2015, Soldiers for Stef has been the top Walk MS fundraising team in the state of Indiana, and one of the top 10 fundraising team for Walk MS country-wide.  This year, Soldiers for Stef’s 135 volunteers have raised more than $20,000. The MS Society has funded more than one-third of the research that has led to every single FDA approved drug for MS. 

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 of the illness.

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 worldwide.

Walk MS is the seventh largest event in the U.S. and the largest gathering in the MS movement.

By joining Walk MS, individuals can help fund groundbreaking MS research and provide life-changing services to those affected by MS through creating a supportive community of friends, families and loved ones who fundraise and connect.

For those interested in learning more or supporting Soldiers for Stef, contact Leah Kachur-Siderits, or join the team at the walk.

To register for the event, visit: main.nationalmssociety.org/site/TR/Walk/INIWalkEvents?fr_id=29700&pg=entry

For more information about multiple sclerosis and the National MS Society go to nationalMSsociety.org or call 1 (800) 344-4867.

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