Walk MS Glenwood Springs is this Saturday | PostIndependent.com

Walk MS Glenwood Springs is this Saturday

On May 18, 350 community members will gather to participate in the 24th year of the Colorado-Wyoming Chapter, National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society’s Walk MS Glenwood Springs.

During the past two decades, MS has gone from an untreatable disease to having 10 FDA-approved therapies to assist people living with MS. The local committee that organizes Walk MS Glenwood is made up of top fundraisers, diehard volunteers, and devoted team captains. During the past 24 years, they have worked together to maintain a presence in the Roaring Fork Valley.

Leading efforts are Glenwood residents Tillie Fischer, a Walk MS Top 100 Club member, and Penny Donelan of Team Donelan … Walk On. These two women have spearheaded much of the community involvement over two decades — and have forged a special and strong friendship along the way.

Tillie and Rolly Fischer became involved in Walk MS 23 years ago and have participated in nearly every Walk MS Glenwood since. Initially they participated as a way to support a niece living with MS, and they raised about $400. In 1993, MS hit closer to home. Their then 28-year-old son, George, was a commissioned officer in the military when he had trouble running with a 50-pound backpack while in training. He was sent to an orthopedist who immediately sent him to a neurologist, where he learned the cause of his symptoms — he had MS.

Tillie and Rolly immediately stepped up their Walk MS Glenwood efforts and have been raising approximately $3,000 every year since. Now in their 80s, the Fischers remain a driving force behind the annual Walk. Tillie recruits local sponsorship from many area businesses, raising approximately $5,000 in support each year. George, now 48 and benefitting from one of the FDA-approved therapies available for MS, will join his mother and father at the Walk MS Glenwood this year.

In 2002, Walk MS Glenwood Springs was named the David Donelan MS Walk in honor and memory of David, Penny Donelan’s son, who passed away in 2001 after a difficult struggle with MS. Penny, her husband Chuck, daughter Shanley and son-in-law Eric all participate.

Penny and Shanley are integral to the success of the committee and work through every logistical detail from pancake batter from Village Inn to placing the 30-foot banner that hangs above Grand Avenue in Glenwood Springs. Penny has “amazing attention to detail,” said Tillie.

“If someone asked me who I respect the most, it would be Penny,” Tillie said.

Each year Walk MS Glenwood Springs raises between $50,000 and $70,000 for programs, services and research to support people living with MS. During the last 23 years Walk MS Glenwood has raised nearly $1.4 million.

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