Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable disease. For some people, MS is debilitating, and it has a serious affect on their quality of life. For others, it’s an irritating condition, but it doesn’t impact day-to-day activities as much.
Everyone diagnosed with MS, however, shares one fact: there’s no cure. Each year, charity organizations, individuals, and community groups raise millions of dollars to help fund research for a cure. At the same time, advocacy groups work to raise awareness and education to help patients prepare for the disease’s changes. If you’re interested in getting involved in fundraising efforts, this list of the top multiple sclerosis events in 2016 is a great place to start.
Location: Appalachian Trail, West Virginia to Maine
Date: March 5-June, 2016
Don’t feel like lacing up your hiking boots? Good news! You can virtually hike the Appalachian Trail with Jimmy Lewis and his dog, Nika. Jimmy’s passion for MS research and fundraising stems from his grandmother, who suffered with the severe side effects of MS. Today, Jimmy hikes to honor her memory, raise awareness, and gather funds for research. This year, his goal is $25,000. Support Jimmy and Nika on their hikeand watch their progress.
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Date: April 2, 2016
Gather your friends and family and face off with other hoops-loving squads to raise money for MS research and community support in Illinois. The MS Half Court Classic takes place at the United Center, home of the Chicago Bulls. Sign up to play co-ed games, four-on-four, or take part in the charity basketball tournament.
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Date: April 25-26, 2016
While not specifically targeted to MS, this annual gathering brings together individuals from diverse backgrounds facing a variety of diagnoses, impairments, or disabilities. The goal of the meeting is to generate conversation and actionable plans to help these individuals find the social and human support they need.
Location: North Stonington, Connecticut
Date: May 16, 2016
Play 18 holes at Lake of Isles, one of Connecticut’s most prestigious courses, while raising funds for MS research and advocacy. Last year, the tournament brought in over $69,000. After the day’s games, enjoy an awards ceremony and dinner with your new golf buddies. Learn more about Golf MS, and sign yourself up!
Location: Departs from Seattle, Washington
Date: May 20, 2016
Is traveling to Alaska still on your bucket list? Check it off on this seven-night cruise. Cruise alongside other individuals with MS, as well as their friends and family. If you’ve been recently diagnosed (or even if your diagnosis came more than a decade ago), you’ll likely make a personal connection with other individuals on this trip.
Location: National Harbor, Maryland
Date: June 1-4, 2016
More than 2,000 delegates join together to study and learn from the latest research and science behind MS. For medical professionals, this annual meeting at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center is a wonderful opportunity to gather continued education in an open exchange format. This year marks the organization’s 30th anniversary.
Location: Athens, Alabama
Date: June 4-5, 2016
See the beautiful back roads and rural landscapes of northern Alabama while you raise money for MS research. Individuals with MS can participate in this event. But it’s also a great opportunity for people who are passionate about finding a cure and those who would like to support a loved one with MS. Not from Alabama? That’s OK. Bike MS holds fundraisers almost every week at destinations across the country.
Location: Severna Park, Maryland
Date: June 11, 2016
What better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than to toss around a few beanbags while raising funds for MS research. This annual fundraiser is celebrating its fourth year. It began as a way for Maddison Bozel to raise awareness after her aunt was diagnosed with MS. Participants can join a double-elimination tournament. Or if you’re more of a spectator, there’s a donation option.
Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Date: August 4-6, 2016
Physician Terry Wahls leads a three-day seminar about the interventions she used to change her MS disease course. During the seminar, she’ll teach others how to implement her lifestyle changes into their own life. Learn more about the Wahls Protocol Program Seminar and her course of action here!
Location: Dallas, Texas
Date: October 29, 2016
Who doesn’t love the opportunity to get muddy and downright dirty in the name of raising funds for a worthy cause? Participants at this Dallas event take part in an obstacle course designed to be challenging, fun, and very muddy. MuckFest events are held at ten other locations around the country.
If you’ve been diagnosed with MS, many of these fundraiser and educational opportunities are great for you. They’re equally great for your spouse, significant other, friends, family members, and anyone you consider a caretaker. Talk with your local hospital outreach office and stay in touch with your favorite non-profit MS groups to find the latest, best, and most useful events in your area.