By: Deanna Rebro | Category: Other | Issue: August 2010
Brandi Davidson, local MS chapter communications manager, and Mike Lang, charter Regatta supporter, welcome sponsors to this year’s two big events.
The disease is serious, but the fight against it is fun – so much fun that it covers two days with two separate events, the Close/MS Regatta Launch Party on August 19 and the 31st annual Close/MS Regatta on September 11.
Since 1980, the Windycrest Sailing Club on Lake Keystone has presented the Regatta to benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Oklahoma Chapter.
Mike Lang knows better than anyone how the spirit of sailing and the heart to help people in need come together for this event. Mike has been involved with the Regatta since the first race. He has seen the effort grow from a few friends getting a few sponsors to raise a few dollars, to a large production of nearly 50 boats and sponsors. To date, more than a million dollars has been raised to support local programs, services and research.
Like Mike, three of the charter sponsors, Anchor Paint, Love Envelopes and Kiwanis Club of East Tulsa County, formerly known as Kiwanis Club of Tulsa S.E., have participated in every race.
Hard shell racers who are serious about claiming one of the 27 trophy awards and first-time cruisers who don’t care if they’re first or last get on the water to catch the spirit and simply have fun. “People who don’t know anything about sailing have a great time,” he says. A large party boat will be available to take spectators up close to the activity while someone explains what is happening. A dinner at the Windycrest Pavilion follows the race.
The Close/MS Regatta is named in honor and in memory of Jim Close, a longtime chapter supporter. This year’s theme is “OK Corrals MS.”
Chairperson is Mary Snider, a long-time member of Windycrest and principal cellist with the Bartlesville Symphony Orchestra. Honorary chair is Ken Greenwood, former manager of KRMG and noted speaker, author and filmmaker.
A warm-up to get into the spirit and welcome new sponsors, the Close/MS Regatta Launch Party, will be held on August 19 at the Home Builders Association of Tulsa, 11545 E. 43rd St. QuikTrip Kitchens is the food sponsor for the event, which features refreshments and a silent auction that promises many great surprises and bargains. Tickets for the Launch Party are $10 per person reserved or $15 at the door.
Brandi Davidson, communications manager for the Oklahoma MS Chapter, says many corporations participate in the Regatta with a sponsorship ranging from $300 to $5,000. Some have employees who have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and who are among the 21,000 Oklahomans affected with this mysterious disease that has no known cause and no cure.
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic and often disabling neurological disease that typically strikes adults in the prime of their lives, between the ages of 20 and 50. They can be fine one day and find their lives forever changed the next.
According to Brandi, the local chapter helps individuals and their families with everything from financial assistance to wheelchairs, canes and informational resources. “We want people to seek the MS Society so they can live their lives as full as possible,” she says.
One lady was provided a wheelchair so she could attend her grandson’s high school graduation. Another woman’s vocal chords were so weakened she had not been able to speak for many years. Communication was extremely limited until she received a Chatter VOX that made her voice audible.
Many other National MS Society fundraisers support new advances in medical research. Recently, disease-modifying drugs were introduced to counteract individual symptoms that were once fatal. “It’s a group effort,” adds Mike, “with diverse talents, professions and interests that all come together.”
Anyone who would like more information on the Launch Party on August 19 or the Close/ Regatta on September 11, please call Mary Snider at (918) 242-3192.
Deanna Rebro has worked in the publishing industry 30+ years, including eight years writing for Value News. She has also worked in real estate for the past six years. Deanna graduated from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio with a B.A. in Journalism. Outside of work, she serves as Vice President on the Board of Directors for Pet Adoption League. “Every story I write is a learning experience,” she said.