by Kirby LindsayOn Saturday afternoon, April 3, starting at 3p.m., Molly Johnston invites everyone who enjoys a good time, good company and a good sip of a little something to wander down Fremont way. Here will gather about 200 hundred friends for the 5th Annual MS Pub Crawl, on its second go ‘round in Fremont.
With t-shirts (available to donors of $50 or more), auction packages and discounts for all participants ($20 donation) at five Fremont bars, Johnston has organized a fun-filled, fundraising afternoon also called the Fremont Stroll. Yet, Johnston represents neither the National MS Society, nor any particular participating venue. As she admitted, she has organized this amazing enterprise as just “a volunteer.”
Get Something In Return
“I would fundraise as a kid door-to-door,” Johnston explained about her long history helping fund Multiple Sclerosis research. She knows the ravages the disease can take as her father has continued to battle with it for thirty years – including all 25 years of her life. “It’s such a tricky disease,” she admitted, “I’ve watched my Dad go through all these struggles.”
“I’m trying to help him,” Johnston explained, “he can’t walk anymore and I can’t give him back that.” She can raise money. “I’m passionate about it,” she said, “for showing support for my Dad, and for those others affected by it.”
“I hate the idea of just asking people to give,” she explained, and while attending Western Washington University, she noted, “my friends like to drink…” She organized her first crawl while at WWU, before shifting to the Center of the Universe.
It seems an immense undertaking, but Johnston seems easy about it. “I went around Fremont,” she explained, “and pitched the idea to all the bars.” Owners that offered the greatest donation percentage, and responded with enthusiasm about donating, were selected as the participating locations. All five bars are “somewhat convenient,” to one another, Johnston pointed out, “in case anyone with MS shows up,” including her dad, who said he’ll stop by.
The Stroll starts at Sinners & Saints (303 N. 36th St) at 3p.m. Roughly every two hours the crowd will shift - to LTD Bar & Grill (309 N. 36th St), The Ballroom (456 N. 36th St), and finally The Dubliner (3517 Fremont Ave N.). The fifth bar, Norm’s Eatery & Ale House (460 N. 36th St) has an all event discount, so attendees can stop by in-between visits to the others.
Give Something For The Fight
“I never run into anyone who says, ‘What’s MS?’,” Johnston said, “especially here in Washington.” For those who might not know or, like me, only have the vaguest idea, Rosanna Snyder, Donor Communications & Marketing Manager for the Greater NW Chapter of the National MS Society, recommended the wealth of data on their website.
Snyder highlighted the way the disease presents in varied symptoms among different people. The progress of the disease, and its severity, also differs greatly among those affected by it. Some people, diagnosed with MS, look completely healthy. Snyder also acknowledged that there is “a lot more hope for people that are being diagnosed now.” New medications – including the first oral drug – as well as other treatments have made big improvements.
Volunteers, like Johnston, can make a difference – as will those of the 1000 or so people who ‘Walk MS’ on April 11. The Seattle walk will start at 9:30 a.m. from Husky Stadium and cover four miles - to Gasworks Park, and back. “Teams are organized,” Snyder explained about some walkers who “dress in shirts or costumes,” to show solidarity – or overflowing enthusiasm. Pre-registration can be done on-line, or the morning of the walk, and all for free. Also, walkers have no minimum fundraising requirement to fulfill, although those who raise over $100 get an orange t-shirt.
So, celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Walk MS in Washington on April 11, and/or, for those 21 years and older, crawl through Fremont on April 3. No matter what, know that doing good can be fun – especially when we raise funds for a cure!
©2010 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.