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UConn Students Band Together for MS Walk

By Marcy Jarzabek, Intern, National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter

STORRS, Conn. -- Four students enrolled at the University of Connecticut are defying the common misconception that underclassmen fail to dedicate time to helping others.

As members of the university band, as well as honorary band service fraternities and sororities on campus, Ryan Brady, Holly Price, Karrie Lundgren and Jon Pallis are determined to make a difference.

UConn Walk
UConn students (left to right) Holly Price, Ryan Brady, Karrie Lundgren, Joe Proud and Jon Pallis discuss plans for the 2008 Travelers Walk MS at UConn, Storrs campus Sunday, April 13. 
Their dedication to helping others has recently included going the extra mile for two fellow bandmates: Jessica Lund and Kimmie Everson. After learning both girls live with multiple sclerosis (MS), members of Kappa Kappa Phi and Tao Beta Sigma decided to hold a Walk MS event on campus to join the fight against the disease.
“After learning two of our band mates were battling MS, both chapters were determined to show our support,” says Lundgren, a junior with a psychology and sociology major from Manchester, Conn.

More than 6,000 Connecticut residents live with multiple sclerosis, a chronic and often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms can include, among other things, numbness and tingling in the limbs, difficulties with vision and speech, stiffness and, in some more severe cases, total paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot be predicted.

The 2008 Travelers Walk MS will take place at the University of Connecticut, Storrs Campus Sunday, April 13.
“None of us knew a lot about MS prior to meeting Jessica and Jimmie,” says Pallis, a senior and math major from Tolland, Conn. “Now, through organizing the walk, we realize how widespread this devastating disease is in the community.”

The University of Connecticut, Storrs campus, hosted the Travelers Walk MS for the first time last year. Almost 200 people participated, raising $23,000 for programs, services and more. In particular Joanie’s Ponies, a team led by UConn mathematics professor Stuart Sidney, was the top fundraiser, bringing in $15,000.

“We had a blast even though it was pouring rain and just 30 degrees,” says Brady, a sophomore and psychology major from Clinton, Conn. “This year should be even better with more sponsors getting involved and more activities for kids, including face painting.”

The decision to hold an annual walk at UConn has resulted in many late-night planning sessions for students already taxed with a full schedule.

“Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma are organizations that exist to serve the university band program through service projects, fundraisers and social events,” says Price, a senior and English major from Hamden, Conn.

“Some of our larger events include distributing uniforms for our 300-piece band, conducting marching clinics at high schools, pep band performances, the Memory Walk for Alzheimers, Relay for Life and most recently, Walk MS.”

But according to Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma advisor Dr. David Mills, it is typical behavior for this group.

“These students do practically everything to operate the band on top of their school work and their involvement in their service organizations,” says Mills, director of the UConn Marching Band. “Their leadership is incredible and their dedication tremendous. Not only do they support the band but they also get involved in other causes, like the Walk MS, which demonstrates their desire to help others. I consider myself quite lucky to work with these young people.”

In 2007 the walk event raised more than $1.1 million from walk sites across the state. The Connecticut chapter hopes to raise more than $1.5 million this year. The 2008 Travelers Walk MS will take place at the University of Connecticut, Storrs Campus Sunday, April 13. Registration begins at 8 a.m., and participants step out at 9 a.m. Participants can choose to walk either a 2.5-mile route or a 5-mile route.

The Travelers Walk MS will also take place at 11 sites statewide Sunday, May 4: Cheshire, Clinton, Enfield, Litchfield, Manchester, New London, Norwalk, Simsbury, West Hartford, West Haven and Woodstock. Lunch is provided at all sites compliments of Subway and Coca-Cola.

To learn more about Travelers Walk MS or to pre-register, please visit
Learn more about multiple sclerosis, its effects and programs and services offered by the chapter to those living with the disease by e-mailing or visiting  


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