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Monday, April 7, 2014

Northwestern Nurse Bethany Masch to Participate in Walk MS Illinois, Chicago May 4 - one of 11 Walk MS Walks statewide

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Annual Walk Raises Money for Research and Support of
People Affected by Multiple Sclerosis

Chicago, April 7, 2014 — Bethany Masch is a nurse specializing in multiple sclerosis (MS) at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and on Sunday, May 4, she will take part in Walk MS, the largest annual fundraiser of the National MS Society, Greater Illinois Chapter. She will be walking at the Chicago Lakefront location, Grant Park (Upper Hutchinson Field, S. Columbus Drive and E. Balbo Drive), one of 11 Walk MS sites statewide. Registration opens at 9:30 a.m., and the Walk starts at 11 a.m. Walk MS brings people together to celebrate the progress and powerful connections made in the movement to end MS and raises funds for critical MS research, programs and services.

Masch started off as a rehabilitation nurse in Michigan, and she had little experience treating MS. When she took a job at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, she was asked to specialize in one of a few given fields.

“One of the options they gave me was multiple sclerosis,” explained Masch. “I didn’t have much experience with MS up to that point, but I did some research and decided that I’d like to make it my focus. Now I’ve been here for three and a half years, I’ve received my MS certification and I can’t imagine it any other way.”

Masch first started with Walk MS in 2011 after discovering that Northwestern Memorial Faculty Foundation had a team. That year, seven team members made it out to the event, and their fundraising consisted of a few small donations from staff.
“When we started off, there wasn’t much excitement about the team,” Masch said. “There was a lot of room for improvement. I started making a concerted effort to get our staff and patients more involved, and it’s really worked out for us.” 
She started posting information about Walk MS around the office, and she reached out to patients on an individual basis, hoping that a personal touch could encourage them to join. One person who showed interest was Tom Philbin, who was already a captain of his own Walk MS team, Buddy’s Crew.

“When Bethany mentioned to me that Northwestern was looking for people to join their Walk team, I had an idea: Why not join mine with theirs?” said Philbin. “We combined the teams, kept the Northwestern name and we both stepped up as co-captains. It ended up working beautifully.”

This year, Masch, Philbin and their newly added third co-captain, Wayne Torrens, will be leading Team Northwestern as they join thousands of participants statewide and hundreds at the Chicago Lakefront for Walk MS 2014. Together they hope to raise money and awareness that will bring them closer to their goal of a world free of MS.

“I love Walk MS because I know that we are making a difference,” said Torrens. “When I was first diagnosed, there were only a couple of medications available — now there are so many treatment options. It’s the money we raise that’s helping to make this happen.”

Last year, more than 12,000 people participated in Walk MS throughout Illinois, raising over $2.7 million for critical MS research, programs and services. In 2013, the Northwestern team had 40 members and raised $14,000; they hope to keep driving those numbers up.

“Every day I see first-hand the impact that MS has on people’s lives,” said Masch. “Each year, I try to put a little more into the Walk. I want to do my part to put an end to this disease.”

To find out more about Walk MS 2014 or to register or donate online, contact Samantha Edidin at 312.423.1156 or at samantha.edidin@nmss.orgor visit walkMSillinois.org.
Multiple Sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease that interrupts the flow of information in the central nervous system, which includes the brain, spinal cord and optic nerve. The Greater Illinois Chapter mobilizes people and resources to drive research for a cure and to address the challenges of more than 20,000 individuals in Illinois and 2.3 million worldwide affected by MS.
For more information, visit MSillinois.org.

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