A community-driven event to raise funds to end multiple sclerosis is growing by leaps and bounds every single year. The fifth annual silent auction benefiting the National Multiple Sclerosis Society was held March 7 at Bogey Grille in Ponte Vedra Beach.
The event is held annually to coincide with MS Awareness Week, a nationwide campaign to raise awareness and research to help end multiple sclerosis.
“It’s grown every year,” said MS Society North Florida Chapter silent auction committee member and event co-founder, Elaine Wright. The annual fundraiser was started by Wright along with Bruce Reid and Linda Bushong-Reid.
Funds raised from the inaugural year exceeded $7,000. Last year’s event raised approximately $18,000, and this year’s event goal was $20,000 – a new record. All proceeds benefit the National MS Society.
Silent auction items for this year’s fundraiser included 238 items to bid on that were donated by local businesses including The BookMark, Wild Birds Unlimited, Trader Joes, Pineapple Post, Gregory’s Jewelers, The Defenders Pest Control, Sweet Pete’s, Natural Life, Ellie Bing and many more.
“We’re just so thankful for the volunteers who put this event on every single year to help raise funds to help end MS,” Corrina Steiger Madrid, chapter president of the North Florida Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society said.
Event organizers were very appreciative to Bogey Grille owner, Derek Prince, for letting them use his facility to host this event for the fifth year in a row. Prince also donates a portion of the food and drink sales from the fundraiser night each year to the cause. Reid, who likes the idea of the event being a grassroots effort by the community, held in the community, said he is so thankful for Prince’s generosity and the generosity of the businesses who donate items to the silent auction each year, as well as the community who turn out year after year to bid on items and help raise funds to end MS.
MS affects the central nervous system. The exact cause of the disease is unknown. Symptoms related to MS can include blurred vision, loss of balance, poor coordination, slurred speech, tremors, numbness, extreme fatigue, problems with memory and concentration, paralysis and blindness, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
The North Florida Chapter of the National MS Society serves 34 counties and 18,000 people affected by MS with local services and research to help find a cure for MS. Orange ribbons signify MS awareness.
Upcoming events benefiting the MS Society include Walk MS: St. Augustine on April 9 and Walk MS: Jacksonville on April 23. Bike MS: PGA Tour Cycle to the Shore is Oct. 22.
For more information about MS, visit www.nationalmssociety.org/FLN.