Thoughts about Giving: Give Monthly… Improve Lives Today, and Every Day!

by Angel Serrano, CFRE and Kaitlyn Gallagher

Make a Difference - Monthly Giving to MSAA
Living with multiple sclerosis can be overwhelming, affecting individuals physically, emotionally, and psychologically. If you or someone you care about has MS, you know that this is a disease of uncertainty. Symptoms, such as fatigue, numbness, anxiety, and difficulty walking, vary with each person – and day-to-day. With the help of caring, generous people like you, there are ways to help empower those who are living with this disease.

By becoming a monthly donor, you can provide ongoing support to ensure that MSAA is there to provide valuable information and resources, mobility equipment, cooling accessories for heat-sensitive individuals, nationwide educational programs, MRI assistance, and more.

Every day, MSAA receives calls and letters from people we are able to help, because of YOU! Julie, Travis, and Gerri are just a few of the more than 400,000 Americans currently living with MS. Each week another 200 or more are diagnosed. Every day can be a struggle – and every donation helps improve their quality of life.

Monthly Giving is a convenient way to spread out your gift to MSAA over time with automatic, recurring contributions. Your monthly gift creates a reliable source of funding year-round to help provide assistance, information, and emotional support to the entire MS community. For only $10 per month, you will join a special community of monthly donors who are committed to improving the safety, mobility, and independence of individuals affected by MS through vital services and support.

Please visit or call (800) 532-7667, ext. 146 to become a monthly donor.

“I cannot thank you enough for providing these items (equipment) as well as all the information you make available for us MS’ers to try to lead lives rich with ability and possibility rather than being crippled by this debilitating disease. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
– Julie M.

“I would like to thank the MSAA for all the help and encouragement that they gave me. They helped get me through the toughest part of my life I’ve ever had.”
– Travis S.

“Thanks to the resources from MSAA, I now have a walker and some great eating utensils. I refuse to become immobile and this helps tremendously on achieving just that. Faith slowly restored.”
– Gerri G.

Photo of Gina Murdoch Team MSAA MSAA President & CEO Gina Ross Murdoch shows off her strength and team spirit while wearing a tutu for the Walt Disney World® Marathon
Weekend presented by Cigna®.

Gina and MSAA’s Mission with the Mouse

MSAA’s President & CEO, Gina Ross Murdoch, traveled down to Walt Disney World® in Orlando, Florida shortly after New Year’s Day 2018 to participate in the Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna® as a dedicated member of #TeamMSAA! After months of training and fundraising, Gina crossed the finish line of the 13.1-mile half marathon on Saturday, January 6th. Gina was able to raise more than $3,000 for the MS community! During her race, Gina donned the names of people with MS on her Team MSAA singlet as a way to recognize the challenges faced by those in the MS community on a daily basis.

Gina stated, “Those living with multiple sclerosis, those caring for a loved one with multiple sclerosis, and the entire medical community that has dedicated their lives to research and care, propelled me through to cross the finish line!”


Bekah and Rachael Scharett – Team MSAA Dan Scharett’s daughters Bekah (left) and Rachael (right) celebrate after completing the 48.6-mile Dopey Challenge.

Dopey Challenge for Daddy, Part II

In the Summer/Fall 2017 issue of The Motivator, we shared the story of Rachael Scharett, the young woman who decided to run in the four-day, 48.6-mile Dopey Challenge through Walt Disney World® in Orlando, Florida. She took this challenge in honor of her father, Dan Scharett, who has lived with MS for 25 years. Since our last issue, Rachael’s sister, Bekah Ware, joined the Dopey Challenge journey. Together, Rachael and Bekah successfully completed the full race during the first week of January 2018, and raised more than $7,000 for MSAA’s free programs and services!

Rachael says about her father, “It was his motivation and drive that inspired me to run the Dopey Challenge. Seeing him fight to live a fulfilled life despite his MS motivates me to do things I normally consider too hard to do.”

Create Your Own Event

Each year, individuals and groups turn their passions and interests into unique fundraisers to raise thousands of dollars for MSAA. Simple ideas could include a bake sale, “Dress-Down Day” at the office, a coin toss, a bingo party, “Strike MS” bowling competition, or joining Team MSAA in various endurance events.

Other exciting ideas include a car wash, a polar plunge, or a sporting event such as a golf, soccer, tennis, or basketball tournament. If you enjoy swimming, you can also create your own Swim for MS challenge – check out for more information.

If interested in creating your own fundraisers, please visit or email us at

To follow are just a few examples of inspirational individuals and groups who have gone above and beyond to improve the lives of those affected by MS.

  • Sterling High School in New Jersey raised $297 by holding a car wash to raise awareness in their community.
  • Great Southern Bank in Missouri held their Community Matters Casual Day to benefit MSAA and raised $2,079 by asking employees for a donation to wear jeans to work.
  • Crossfit Accolade in Virginia held a burpee fundraiser in their community and raised $350. For anyone not familiar, a burpee is a type of aerobic or strength-training exercise, also known as a squat thrust. In this type of an event, participants might raise money by doing a certain number of burpees within a specific amount of time.
  • The City of Durham Inspection Department in North Carolina raised $1,592 as part of their “7 Stars” employee-giving campaign kick-off celebration.
  • Nana’s Cookies 11th Annual Bake Sale in Pennsylvania, organized by Alyssa, Lynne, and Linda, raised $3,800 to support MSAA’s programs and services.

Additionally, a family in California has held an annual Christmas dinner for the past 20 years. Instead of exchanging gifts with one another, members of the family donate to support a different charity each year. For 2017, they chose MSAA as their charity, to honor a relative who was recently diagnosed with MS. Raising $700, a family member wrote to MSAA, “We chose MSAA because your organization provides very practical items. Whether it is financial assistance [for an MRI], cooling vests and other physical aid items, or education for families and recently diagnosed persons, these items provide real concrete help for people diagnosed with MS.”

Walker Reynolds

Swim for MS

Swim for MS is a national fundraiser in which volunteers are encouraged to create their own swim challenge to support MSAA.

Walker first discovered our Swim for MS fundraising campaign in 2017, where volunteers can create their own swim activity, set a challenge goal, and collect pledges from family and friends to help support MSAA’s free programs and services. Walker not only reached, but exceeded his goal in 2017, raising more than $1,800 to help support the MS community.

This year is Walker’s second Swim for MS fundraiser in honor of his mother, Shana, who has had MS since 1999. On his fundraising page, Walker states, “My goal is to raise $2,500, which is almost $150 for each year my mom has struggled with MS.” Walker says, “Lots of people don’t ‘get’ she’s not well or unable to do things at times because her symptoms are invisible. I hope to help raise awareness about what the reality of living with MS is truly like.”

Swimming 1,600 minutes so far, Walker has already raised $2,037! To read more or to help him reach his goal of raising $2,500, please visit