By: Duane Blankenship | Category: Special Interest | Issue: April 2013
Brandi Moore (National MS Society Oklahoma regional manager), Christie Tull (Walk MS Tulsa chairperson), and Rachel Klenda (Walk MS Tulsa manager) look forward to the walk and accompanying festivities.
Be inspired. Get connected. Walk MS. “Money we raise at the annual Walk MS Tulsa fundraising event supports research as we move closer to our ultimate goal of a world free of MS,” said Brandi Moore, National MS Society Oklahoma regional manager. For the 26th year, Tulsa area residents will make a positive impact in the lives of those affected by MS. You are invited to be a part of the celebration by making a donation, sponsoring a team, supporting an existing team, or being a fund raiser and participating in the Walk MS Tulsa at Veterans Park at 18th and Boulder on Saturday, April 13.
Registration begins at 7:30 a.m., with walkers heading out on a three-mile River Trails course at 9. Register the morning of the event or go online to preregister. Walk MS participants are asked to raise $100 each. “All fundraising is due by May 13,” said Walk MS Tulsa Manager Rachel Klenda.
Each walker raising $100 earns a commemorative T-shirt. The top 50 fundraising teams, know as Mission Movers, from the previous year’s event are provided a large tent where team members may meet before and after the walk.
Walk MS is a great social opportunity and a special time to connect with others who have a heart for eliminating MS and aiding individuals and families affected by the disease. Even if you can’t actively participate this year, you and your family are invited to visit Veterans Park and witness the happenings. Beginning around 10 a.m., activities will focus around the MS photo booth and the MS expo, a large tent for those with MS and their families. Local vendors will be on hand who specialize in products and services available to those impacted by MS. The expo is an opportunity for you to learn more about this debilitating disease.
Clowns, bounce houses and more will keep the children entertained. Panera Bread, QuikTrip and Starbucks are donating pastries and beverages for all Walk MS Tulsa participants, and the walkers’ lunch is being donated by Bar-S Foods and Sam’s Club. Music will be provided by a local band.
Christie Tull is the 2013 Walk MS Tulsa chairperson. Christie’s mother suffered for 18 years before finally being diagnosed with MS. She was forced to retire at about age 50 and ultimately lost her life to MS at age 59. “None of the medications available at the time helped my mom. Fortunately, many more treatment options are available today,” said Christie.
Christie’s older sister, Valerie, woke up one morning when she was only 28 years old, called Christie and told her that she was totally numb on one side of her body and that she couldn’t hold a pencil. “I have MS,” she said. Valerie’s self-diagnosis was immediately confirmed. Although she had enjoyed playing soccer for many years, she was forced to retire. Valerie did regain feeling in her affected side and her MS was in remission for about five years, allowing her to return to playing soccer. She did have another flare-up, but is now in remission.
Christie and Valerie got involved with Walk MS in 2000 and have since been active supporters. Along with being the 2013 chairperson, Christie also sponsors a team called The Kickers. When asked what MS meant to Christie, she responded, “MS means my sister!”
The National MS Society is committed to finding new treatments for all people with multiple sclerosis and to help ensure financial support for those having to deal with the havoc it causes. Walk MS events throughout our state have a goal to raise $400,000 this year.
Blankenship graduated from the University of Oklahoma and has enjoyed a lifetime career in advertising. He started his own advertising business in 1993 and enjoys creating graphic art and writing. Hobbies include hunting, fishing and pencil drawings. Duane and his wife, Janice, have been married over 50 years and are active in their church and community. He has been a contributing writer for Value News/Values Magazine since 2005.