7 Lessons in 7 Years: How to Rock Walk MS

Wondering how to make the most of Walk MS? This article, from veteran Walk MS participant, top fundraiser and team captain, Jim Fairchild, should give you PLENTY of good reasons.

1. Action Kills Fear

I just learned this quote recently and have applied it to just about everything in my life. If for any reason you’re nervous about doing the walk, then sign up and put it on your calendar. I know you will be amazed at what happens next.

2. Support Awaits

I find comfort in the fact everyone around me at Walk knows I have MS—I don’t have to fake or hide anything. This awareness supports me in my journey as do the zillions of people from the MS Society, my family and friends, and the people I meet at Walk MS. If you ever think you’re alone with your MS, then come to the walk and learn otherwise!

3. Personalize

The people who support me like to know how I am REALLY doing. So I write personal stories that I get out via Facebook and email. It’s cathartic for me to write and I get great response from tons of people because I’m not afraid to be vulnerable about my MS.

4. Comfort Zone

In general, I don’t like asking for help or support. That’s why I do a “soft” ask for donations. I share personal stories and add, “Please donate if you are able. The money all goes to a good cause.” Because I ask softly, I don’t mind asking multiple times (usually 7-8 times in order to reach my goal). But I believe if you ask, your friends won’t mind, and they’ll deliver.

5. Have Fun

As part of our annual tradition we go out to eat after the walk. I always joke that my team is motivated by beer. In reality, they’re excited to support me and my family (but the beer and dinner adds to the fun).

6. Invite Everyone

Over the years, in order to have a team of 45 people, I’ve invited well over 150. Luckily, Walk is now a tradition so my team is mainly filled with repeat walkers. But if I didn’t ask I wouldn’t have teachers, co-workers, and friends from all walks of life joining us.

7. Use the Tools

I use the Walk MS participant center and Facebook tools as a major part of my fundraising and team building. First I set up my personal and team pages through the website and then direct everybody there so they can donate and join the team very easily. Without these tools I know my fatigue and mental energy would not allow me to reach as many people as I do. It takes a bit of time, but then it makes my life a ton easier. And we ALL love easier!

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About the Author

Jim was diagnosed with MS in 1998. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Vancouver, Washington where he records How You Really Doin’? A podcast about living with MS.

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