Monday, July 7, 2014

A Mattress for My Feet

by Jackie Piper

Let me begin my post today by sharing that I am old. Actually, according to one of my grandchildren, I’m “really old.” I am also not athletic. I am also NOT slim or svelte. This is just some essential background information that is part of the story of how I came to find my most favorite walking shoes of all time.

Last year at about this time I was in the market for a new pair of walking shoes. I get a new pair every summer as my “back up” pair as I train for Challenge Walk MS. We were at the Mall of America en route to our vacation spot and I ventured into the Nike store where there were literally hundreds of shoes on display.  

“Surely, I can find an awesome pair of shoes in here!” I said to myself.

Well, don’t call me Shirley because I never could find anyone to wait on me, perhaps because I am (a) old, (b) not athletic, or (c) not thin or svelte.

So….I strolled out the door and around the Mall until I came upon the Sketcher store. I’ve always thought of Sketchers as being for skateboarders. Not sure why. However, I was immediately approached by an enthusiastic young male clerk who was approximately 12 years old. (What are the labor laws in Minnesota??)  

I shared with him that I was looking for a pair of very comfortable walking shoes to train and use for a very long walk.  When I told him how long of a walk, he was appropriately impressed. 

He immediately and decisively announced, “I know just the shoes you need.”

With a flourish he brought me a pair of shoes that were lighter than air and said these magic words:
“They have Memory Foam inside, like the mattress.”

I put them on and fell in love right there in the Sketcher/skateboarder store in front of the 12-year-old... with a pair of shoes. I wore them to train thereafter and when I got home from vacation, ordered a second pair.

Last year was my fourth Challenge Walk, and I’ve got to tell you: I may be old, non-athletic and slightly overweight, but for 50 miles, I had some very happy feet!

Jackie will help host the next Challenge Walk MS conference call on Wednesday, July 9, and share helpful training tips. To join the call, dial 888-279-3775, and use conference code 4804#. The call begins at 6 p.m. Additional calls will be held August 13 and September 10. 


Thursday, June 19, 2014

June 11 Challenge Walk MS Conference Call Recap

  •  As of June 10, 114 walkers are registered for Challenge Walk MS 2014 (2 of the 114 are virtual walkers)
  • There currently are 18 Super Crew members registered. (Super Crew members are dedicated volunteers who pay the registration fee, raise the $1,500 pledge minimum and receive all the same benefits as walkers. These volunteers assist with a variety of responsibilities throughout the Challenge Walk weekend.)
  • There are 22 crew members who have registered. (Crew members are not required to pay the registration fee, but they are encouraged to fundraise. Overnight accommodations and meals are not included for crew members. However, those who raise $750 will receive Friday night lodging and participate in the Friday evening celebration dinner.)
  • With the special Bring-a-Buddy offer, if you recruit a new walker or Super Crew member to join you at Challenge Walk MS, you’ll each receive an orange-a-licious spirit basket at check in. This basket will be packed full of fun items, you’ll be the envy of other participants AND have someone special with you to enjoy the weekend.
  • Lastly, remember the $1,500 fundraising minimum must be submitted by August 29, 2014 with the final fundraising deadline being September 22, 2014.

Conference Call Host: Pam Evason
  • Pam is a 2nd year Challenge Walk veteran. Last year she walked with her mom and made many new friends throughout the weekend.
  • Besides the impact that Challenge Walk had on Pam, she was able to make an impact within the MS Movement by raising $2,110.
  • Pam fundraised by using the portal through her participant page, Facebook, e-mail and sharing her upcoming challenge that she was going to take on. She shared the importance of thanking donors no matter what the gift size. Pam personalized her thank you postcard by adding pictures from the weekend and writing each friend an individual message on the back. She shared that this was special for her friends and they thanked her for sending the postcard.   

Sarah Hwang: Her story and success
·         Sarah has done an outstanding job in terms of fundraising. She is not a Challenge walker, but as of today she is the #1 fundraiser in the state of Wisconsin for Walk MS 2014, raising more than $21,000 this year.
  • Fundraising methods: Sarah never made a single phone call; she did all of her fundraising through Facebook, e-mail and just sharing her story. Sarah was persistent – she would reach out to each and every person in her contact list, whether she knew them closely or not, and if someone said they were going to give a gift then she followed up with them to ensure the gift was coming. She shared also that no gift is too small. She thanked her $100 donors just as much as her $5 donors.
  • Sarah also used matching gifts through her husband and his employer. It’s always important to check with your employer if they will match any gifts along with the employers of your team members and your sponsors/donors.   
  • Sarah and her husband, Milt, conducted a very interesting DIY (Do It Yourself) fundraiser in advance of Walk MS. It was called “Fighting MS, Egg Roll Style.”

-          Sarah took Milt’s talent of cooking amazing Chinese food and put it to a great cause. Milt cooked all evening for guests, there was a cover charge but the food and Milt’s time was donated by Sarah and Milt. With many in attendance, they were able to raise over $2,500 that evening alone.
-          They also had a silent auction that evening. The silent auction item went for $600 alone. The item was an evening at Milt & Sarah’s home with cooking instruction from the host himself.
-          Lastly they had customized fortune cookies which all the guests were very impressed with. They had messages like, “Walk MS is in your future” and “We will find a cure.”

Open to discussion: Things shared by others
  • One of the hardest things is asking for money and getting a rejection. It’s key to use every contact whether you know them closely or not. Sarah shared that she received a donation from her son’s friend’s mother on their way to a game, also from her construction contractor. Never stop sharing your story – people do listen and want to support a great cause.
  • The size of a gift doesn’t matter but remind others that their participation does. Engage them in the event.
  • There are many other ways to raise money; some other examples of DIYS are listed below.
    -          Host a yard game tournament at your house
    -          Host a food night, create some unique dishes or use someone’s talent to cook and charge a cover for individuals as they enter.
    -          Host a movie night, provide specialty popcorn and enjoy a relaxing evening with family and friends, again charge a cover at the door. 

If you have questions or want further information about Challenge Walk MS or the items covered during the conference call, feel free to contact: Nichole Shaffer at 262-369-4416 or Jamie Baker at 262-369-4435.

The next conference call will be Wednesday, July 9 at 6 p.m. Hosted by seven-year participant Jackie Piper and other veteran Challenge Walk MS participants, the theme will be training. Dial 888-279-3775 and use code 4804#

Thursday, May 29, 2014

You're Invited to a Brat Fry

In the Sheboygan area this Saturday? Stop by the Blurred Lines Brat Fry at Water Street Pub (931 N. 12th St. in Sheboygan) from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. to enjoy some brats, burgers and all-day raffles. Proceeds benefit the National MS Society. The DIY fundraiser is being put on by Challenge Walk MS veteran Stacey Remington

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Hey Brother

by Jackie Piper

Recently, I was driving with my 6-year-old grandson in the car listening to his favorite song, HEY BROTHER. There’s a line in the song that goes:
The babies who walked 22 miles (and their legs are so short!).

“If the sky came falling down for you,
There’s nothing in this world I wouldn’t do."

Eli asked me, “Hey Grandma, what does that mean?”  

Oh dear, how to explain a double negative to a 6-year-old! What I  told him was, it means that when life gets hard for you, there are very special people who would do ANYTHING to help you, to make your life better.  

Like walk 50 miles with you.

I’m amazed at the number of people who commit to this incredible weekend who have no immediate family member affected by MS. Those people are there out of friendship, because they have a friend whose life has been affected by MS.

Have you ever seen the commercial with the guy trying to get his friends to help him move? They all make up excuses as to why they can’t help him. Not so our Challenge Walk friends!

We call them and say: "Do you want to spend the weekend with me and walk 50 miles, possibly in rain, wind, and 45-degree temperatures with blisters, aching muscles, sore feet, and exhaustion? Oh, and by the way, could you bring at least $1,500 with you?"

And, incredibly, they come.

Look around this September and you will see the “friends” of Challenge Walk on every team. You may have noticed the pregnant ladies on the walk last year. One was my daughter, Annie, whose husband has MS, and one was her friend, Vanessa. They walked 22½ miles over the three days. Now that, my friend, is a friend indeed.

I raise my glass to Vanessa, Molly, Lacey, Debbie and all of YOUR friends who answer the call and say: There’s nothing in this world I wouldn’t do.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


by Diane Thompson

It is hard to believe that in less than four months, I will be in Tanzania, Africa! Yes, that's right, I am going to AFRICA! Multiple sclerosis is not going to hold me back this time.

Diane Thompson will be traveling to
Tanzania this summer. What a way
to train for Challenge Walk MS!
I have been preparing for this trip since November by working out at the local YMCA with a friend who will also be making the journey with me. Four to five times a week we lift weights, walk or even run a few laps, and enjoy some much needed stretching.

Even more important than the physical strength that I have gained, I have also gained a travel companion who can tell if I am close to "overdoing it." This is very important since I don't always want to listen to my body when I travel. I want to GO, GO, GO!

My neurologist has also been working with me by making sure that all of my shots are up to date and that I will have all of my daily and precautionary medications.

Who knows, maybe I will come back from Tanzania even healthier than when I left. I will be in a village where they don't use any pesticides or herbicides on their food, there is plenty of sunshine, the temperatures will be in the mid 70's and they take naps in the afternoon.

Stay tuned for further details on the "Tanzania Treatment". I will be back from Tanzania for about a month before Challenge Walk MS. I can't wait to share my adventures with all of you!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Ready to Walk?

Walk MS kicks off in Wisconsin this weekend with 10 events throughout the state. Another six events will take place next weekend, and four more walks are scheduled for September (including two new sites in Oshkosh and Stevens Point). If you're at any of the locations, spread the word about another great walk event -- Challenge Walk MS!

For details on the Walk MS dates and locations, visit

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

When Do You Replace Your Shoes?

According to "The Walking Site" (  

"Keep track of how many miles you have put on your shoes, and replace them every 300 to 600 miles. (If you are wearing very light weight shoes, are overweight, or you are hard on your shoes stay toward the low end on mileage.) To extend the life of your shoes be sure to only wear them only for your walks. Also rotating two pair of shoes will give them time to 'bounce back' between walks."

What recommendations have you heard?