I love organizing the Judith Jaffe MS Center MS Walk Team so friends at the Judith Jaffe MS Center can have a fun day outdoors and raise some money for MS research. The scientists and researchers at Judith Jaffe Weill Cornell receive millions in research grant money for the MS Society, and I feel like we are doing our part to keep the grants program continuing.
Take a walk with me through the years of recruiting walkers and donations, the MS Walk day event, and the snacks we have afterward.
How I Got Started Organizing the Judith Jaffe MS Center MS Walk Team
My neurologists called me into action to organize the Judith Jaffe Walk Team soon after I became a patient at the clinic in 2011. “You won’t mind getting 300 texts on Walk Day, will you?” Of course not. I was happy to recruit walkers and donations from a small folding table on the landing just outside the clinic and politely called on patients and those who love them to register for the walk and donate.
Call to action by Regina
Sitting on the landing, I got to see my Judith Jaffe MS friends in person as they came in for their appointments during walk season.
And I got to know more about how important the clinic staff is for patients. Many patients are pleased to step forward to donate to staff members who help them with scheduling and insurance issues throughout the year.
I have been absent from recruiting for 3 years because of Covid – I hope to get the nasal vaccine for my sixth dose and be back on the landing outside the office to recruit for the 2023 Walk.
The MS Walk and the Judith Jaffe MS Center Walk Team
The hours spent at Judith Jaffe seeing everyone again, signing up walkers, and collecting donations is fun, but the main event is the MS Walk.
The Walk has a slightly raucous street fair vibe; it’s all outdoors, it goes on rain or shine, and there’s always a very good DJ. One of our most dedicated supporters serves as the team photographer. If you look carefully at the pictures you can see the team members who return yearly.
Extremely Cool DJ picture:
Some years the weather is not so good, and then you get bragging rights just for showing up and completing it.
Here, you can see S. brought her child, whose picture we use to tug on donors’ heartstrings on our Mind Brain Philanthropic Website to get donations.
Judith Jaffe MS Center MS Walk Team + Weill Cornell Imaging
For several years, we formed a joint team with the staff of Weill Cornell Imaging, located right above Judith Jaffe at 1305 York in New York City, on the third floor.
Weill Cornell Imaging takes the ‘spots and dots’ MRIs our neurologists need to assess what is going on with our disease. Imaging always brought a big presence to our Team, and a big donation to go with it.
Of course, some days the weather is fine, and all the beautiful people show up. These guys don’t have MS; they show up in love and solidarity with the people who do.
Sometimes they break out with dance moves:
MS is a Terrible Way to Meet Terrific People
As MSers have noted, MS is a terrible way to meet terrific people.
One of the first MS patients I recruited turned out to be one of the most extraordinary people I have ever met. L. has had MS for about as long as I have, but it was taking a much harder course with her. She had been abandoned by most of her family a day after telling them of her diagnosis. And she went on to make a life for herself. Although she was in a tilt recline wheelchair and needed an attendant 24/7, she lived in her own apartment, which her attendants helped keep in good order.
In addition to her unshakable belief in God, she had a great health care attendant, a woman I’ll call Ms. P., who helped her do everything. They befriended each other and were like sisters. These two women would collect all the donations they could.
On walk day, Ms. P. would do L.’s makeup perfectly, as instructed, and dress her just so. L. had wonderful taste. They would go through the hassle of getting to the MS Walk with Access-a-Ride, a.k.a. Upset-a-Ride, on a day when every MSer in the city wants to use Access-a-Ride to go to the MS Walk.
I think she looks like an angel in this picture. She would laugh at the description, and say something risque with a witty double entendre.
And here are L. and Miss P., strolling the walk.
Angels From Our Past
MS also has brought classmates from Colorado Springs back into our lives. My sister Grace and I went to East Junior High with Brett Axton. We were all three in the school play, “You were Born on a Rotten Day” in 1976. Grace got back in touch with Brett in 2014 and shared my MS story with him.
Brett began donating. With his generous matching donations, he became an anchor of all my MS fundraising over the years. It is profoundly moving to have someone from your past, someone you had lost contact with for 30 years who takes an interest in what you are going through.
In 2016, we visited Brett in Colorado Springs, where he took us and another friend from High School, Troy Nelson, out for shooting lessons at his pheasant and quail preserve in Calhoun, Colorado – the Rocky Mountain Roosters. I got to talk to him about his own fundraising, and it inspired me to start our not-for-profit, the Mind Brain Philanthropic Foundation.
We will always be grateful to Brett for his support.
Walking With the Columbia Presbyterian MS Walk Team
One year, the Judith Jaffe MS Center MS team walked with the team from Columbia Presbyterian. The team photographer got some fantastic shots of both teams that year. That’s their Team Captain in rose-colored glasses, with her husband to her right
I don’t know why Kenny is in the lower right of their shot, because he is definitely one of Judith Jaffe’s.
The team pictures were so good that she metallicized them.
And I love this shot. I call it “Woman surprised by MS Walk”. That lady was from the Columbia Presbyterian Team.
Donate to Stay on the Good Side of the Judith Jaffe MS Center MS Walk Team!
Another friend extraordinary MSer I met recruiting the team for the MS Walk is Liz Murphy. She always comes with Lizandra and Daniela, two of her high school friends. She is always stylish and ready for anything. If you want to stay on her good side, make a generous donation.
Here she is enjoying the company of Bella, the dog.
Here is Bella in the arms of her owner during the freezing MS Walk of 2018. I love all these faces. I just love them all. It was so cold and we were so happy. Bella is in the arms of her owner, whom I’ve lost contact with.
RS is an athlete whom MS cannot bring low.
He’s another living angel who moves with thought and purpose while making MS look smooth.
New supporters! Old supporters! We can always use new recruits!
This was from the 2022 MS Walk, the first live event in 2 years. I hope to be back on the landing of the Judith Jaffe MS Center in 2023, with recurring walkers and donations.
Please join us for a great walk in 2023 – we will post the link as soon as registration is open,
I’ll end with this picture of two Salty Pimps, which are ice creams from the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop, not the women. We always enjoy all the treats NYC has to offer on MS Walk Day.
Thank you for reading about my experiences fielding the Judith Jaffe MS Center MS Walk Team. Perhaps you’ll join me on the next one.