Martinsville, VA (April 21, 2001) --- About 250 walkers raised over $21,000 on Saturday at Martinsville Speedway for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. People who have friends with MS, children and even those who suffer from the disease...
Martinsville, VA (April 21, 2001) --- About 250 walkers raised over $21,000 on Saturday at Martinsville Speedway for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
People who have friends with MS, children and even those who suffer from the disease came out to raise money for MS research. This year's walk raised more than twice as much money as last year's event. Karen Parker, Martinsville Speedway's Director of Marketing and Business Development, has MS and served on the committee to organize the event.
"Everyone has been so generous with their time and money," Parker said. "The committee appreciates the speedway letting us have it here. It was the shot in the arm we needed."
Sixty percent of the money raised in the Martinsville Speedway Multiple Sclerosis 250 will stay within the area covered by the Blue Ridge Chapter. The remaining 40 percent will go toward national research. Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms may be mild such as numbness in the limbs or severe such as paralysis or loss of vision. The Blue Ridge Chapter covers 51 counties in Northwest and Southwest Virginia, including the Martinsville, Henry County and Patrick County. There are more than 1,900 people with MS in the area the Blue Ridge Chapter covers.
"The walk is very important to our organization," said Kim Elliott, Special Events Manager for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society's Blue Ridge Chapter in Roanoke. "Every year it helps raise the money we need to fund break-through research as well as programs for people with MS."
Nan Lenhart of Martinsville has MS and raised money for the event, but didn't walk because of the disease. She said she is grateful to everyone who gave money to help. "I've been hyped with people giving me contributions. They have contributed because they know me or someone with MS," Lenhart said. Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell was the honorary chairman of the Martinsville Speedway Multiple Sclerosis 250. Before Campbell gave the command to start the walk by saying, "Ladies, gentleman and children, start your sneakers," he spoke to the walkers. "We appreciate so many people coming out today to raise money for this life changing disease," Campbell said. "It's very important that we all do as much as we can to fight it." Virginia House Delegate Ward Armstrong was one of the sponsors for the walk and he and his daughter Courtney participated. "It's a terrible disease and we need to do everything we can to find the cause so we can find a cure," Armstrong said.
The first 250 walkers who contributed to the Martinsville Speedway Multiple Sclerosis 250 received a T-shirt commemorating the event. Anyone raising $75 or more received a national MS Walk T-shirt and anyone topping $150 was awarded a national MS Walk sweatshirt. In addition to the walk, music was provided by radio station B-99 and there was face painting for the youngsters.
Major sponsors for the walk included Checkered Flag Sports, Bassett Furniture, Hooker Furniture, Pepsi, Hayes Jewelers, Anderson Lawn & Garden, American of Martinsville, VF, B99.9, Sara Lee, Berry Elliott, Tri-State Foam, Memorial Hospital, Sasser Signs, The Barth Family and Big Byrd's Big Twins.
Lap sponsors were Ward Armstrong, Qualex, Bassett Office Supply, Ford & Dickerson and Cobbe, Don C. Sheppard Trucking and Rives S. Brown. Other sponsors were Martinsville High School, Stone Ambulance, Arby's Walsh' s Chicken, Circuit City, Brook's Septic, Anchor Commission, Advance Auto Parts, Subway, Kroger, Domino's, Bojangles, Biscuitville, Chick-fil-a, Valleydale, Martinsville Ice, Washington Mutual, SW Piedmont Beekeepers Association, Henry County Baptist Association.