Over 200 people took a 3-mile trek around Berry College’s campus Saturday morning, dedicated to finding a cure to multiple sclerosis as well as in honor of those who have or had the autoimmune disease.
“Together we are stronger,” Anastasia Papastefan, development specialist for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, said to the crowd before the walk began.
Coordinating the event was Berry head football coach Tony Kunczewski and senior lecturer of mathematics Janna Johnson. The walk had been going on before Kunczewski arrived at Berry in 2013, but he said it struck a chord with him because his mother had the disease and he felt compelled to participate.
“It seems that it keeps getting better and better,” he said.
Johnson said she participated most years and started helping plan the event for the past five years. She worked with Athletes Bettering the Community, a group made up of Berry students, on set-up and food donations. Chick-fil-A, Bojangles, The Sweet Bar, Publix and Panera all donated food with Dunkin Donuts donating coffee.
The walk itself was free and money was raised by corporate sponsors and team donations. The majority of the money goes to find a cure through research, Papastefan said, with the rest going to help locals in the community who struggle with the disease. She also announced the top three teams who had raised the most money so far.
Although they were not in the top three, the A&T family showed up in force with 45 family members and friends supporting 31-year-old Amanda Robinson-Bush, who was diagnosed in 2016. According to her mother Denise Daniels, the family has been walking for three years and last year had around 70 family members participate.
“This is inspiring for us,” she said. “It gives us hope.”
The Rome family raised $4,500 this year which came from their own pockets, Daniels said, with Mellow Mushroom contributing some as well.
Other sponsors for Saturday’s MS walk included DoGood Boutique on Broad Street, which donated a percentage of its sales through Saturday to the NMSS.