Posted on May 15th, 2013
Cape town, South Africa gets moving in the run up to World MS Day
Contributed by Amy and Joy Stephens, South Africa
The Making Strides 4 Multiple Sclerosis (MS4MS) fun run was held on Saturday the 11th of May at the Rondebosch Common in Cape Town. The event entailed a 5km walk and a 10km fun run in aid of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of South Africa. The main goals of the event were to raise money in aid of furthering research into MS as well as for the care of MS sufferers who cannot afford items such as wheelchairs, physical or emotional therapy. Overall we wanted to raise awareness and create a day of positivity for those with MS.
My sister Joy Stevens and I began to envision this event in September of 2012. With both of us having a passion for running we wanted to combine this with our passion for doing something for MS. The idea began to form as we were incredibly frustrated by the lack of awareness, knowledge and misunderstanding that existed around MS. This was an idea incredibly close to our heart as our mother was diagnosed with MS 12 years ago, in 2000. Despite this, we have never seen her give up. She maintains positive and determined to fight every single day to stay in control of her body and not let MS stop her from reaching her goals. She is an inspiration to the entire family and we wanted to do something to honour her and show her how much we love and appreciate her.
It was a 9 month journey which entailed applying for an event permit to host the event at the Rondebosch common and organising for everything that we needed to be either sponsored or donated. It was a huge learning curve as both of us have full time jobs and had never organised an event before. Despite this, we were overwhelmed by the responses that we got, everyone we spoke to was incredibly generous, positive and supportive and more than happy and willing to help.
We raised money through a number of ways. Our main source was from event entries and then through donations from the kindness of people’s hearts as well as generous corporates, our Runner Sponsorship plan, where we encouraged runners/walkers to find sponsors for each km they completed and finally through cake sales at offices.
Despite the cold weather we had a great turn out on the day of about 150 people, many of whom wore orange to show their support for MS. Registration started at 7:00am and we kicked off the race at about 8:10 am with everyone in high spirits. Our mother, Jean Stevens and father, Clive Stevens drove down especially for the event from Greyton and were there at the start line to encourage and cheer the runners on. The vibe on the day was incredible and everyone made a special effort to seek us out and share their stories. Everyone was excited and happy to be there.
Runners and Walkers were welcomed at the end of the race with plenty of refreshments, t-shirts, goodie bags and there were great spot prizes for a few lucky winners. Luckily, even the weather managed to hold right until the end of the race.
We managed to raise around R15 000 and succeeded in raising awareness for MS and creating a day of fun and positivity. Most importantly, we honoured our mother in the most amazing way and showed her how important and inspirational she is to us and those who meet her.
We are planning to make this an annual event, with next year’s MS4MS event promising to be even bigger and better. Participants were so supportive and were already excited for next year’s event and promising to bring more people to show their support for MS.
We are overwhelmed by everyone’s generosity and the amazing support of our sponsors. However, none of this would be possible without the endless love and support we received from family and friends as well as the incredible volunteers who pledged their time on Race Day to make it the huge success it was.
We are excited and cannot wait till next year’s MS4MS Race and all the great things we can do for MS.
Amy and Joy Stephens