Lincoln and Sophia Eldred, the grandchildren of Joann Nemechek of McCook, participate in the MS Walk in 2007. The children explained, "Why we walk," by saying "We walk to show our Grandma we love her. We walk in hope that Grandma won't have to be sick much longer. We walk because we are thankful that Grandma is able to watch us grow up. We walk because God has given us stronger legs and eyes and not everyone is able to walk or not able to see where they are walking. We hope that we will never be sick like Grandma is, and if we do get sick, there will be medicine to make us better." The photo, and the childrens' explanation of why they walk provides the backdrop for this year's promotional pamphlet. Courtesy photo
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Joann has multiple sclerosis, a chronic unpredictable neurological disease that can cause blurred vision, loss of balance, poor coordination, slurred speech, tremors, numbness, extreme fatigue, problems with memory and concentration, paralysis and blindness. These problems may be permanent, or they may come and go.
But Joann also has a lot of fight in her, along with the unwavering support of her husband and family. They share her daily battles and her yearly struggle to pull volunteers, corporations, small businesses and walkers together each year for the MS Walk, this year scheduled for June 7 in McCook's still picturesque Norris Park.
On site registration opens at 8:30 a.m., and the walk will begin at 9 a.m., and continue until 1 p.m.
Blue Cross/Blue Shield is the sponsor for the 2008 Walk, marking the 50th anniversary of the Nebraska Chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Representatives from the state chapter will travel in from Omaha to take part in the day's events.
Unique to the McCook walk will be a banner, fashioned by Sarah Rippen with McCook Lettering, recognizing bronze ($100), silver ($250) and gold ($500) donors by name.
Howard and Janet Kool with Mobility Motoring will show a mobility vehicle and be available to answer questions and Paul Schaffert of Indianola will discuss the benefits of the Far Infrared Health Club Sauna.
Participants also will have the opportunity to meet the new station manager at KNGN Radio, Adam Spanier. He will DJ Christian music during the walk and will be doing interviews for broadcast on 1360 AM.
Community support has been high this year, with all three flower shops in McCook offering live blooming plants available to anyone contributing a minimum of $10. That minimum $10 contribution also will enter the donor's name in a drawing for $100 of meat donated by Cal Siegfried, Scott Carlan and Lee Hoyt with Willow Creek Meats and Mobility Motoring. In addition to the $10 donation, in order to be eligible for the flowers and the drawing for the meat, participants must walk, if they are physically able.
In addition to the generous supply by local businesses of food items, a number of door prizes will also be given away. And, as always, donors raising specific amounts of money will be eligible for premium prizes.
For more information, contact Nemechek at (308) 345-6816.
Where do your dollars go?
In the last two years, the Nebraska Chapter alone raised $649,000 for funding research.
More than $20,000 in direct assistance to individuals, promoting independence and addressing quality of life issues.
40 cents of every dollar goes to the national association to further the cause.
Invested $25,039 in 2007 in professional/physician education.
Invested $93,212 for community programs across the state including Day at the Capitol and Getaway Weekend.
Three $1,000 scholarships awarded to teens touched by MS to further their college education.
$5,325 for training and financial support to 18 support groups.
Whether it's a family weekend, online, telephone and in-person educational support; advocating for change at the federal, state and local levels; or working with thousands of volunteers who serve as champions to support and serve people with MS -- we're changing the way the world views MS.
Your gift helps accomplish all these things and more, as we make every effort to keep people with MS moving forward until their hopes and dreams can be achieved.