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12-Year-Old Raises Funds, Awareness For Multiple Sclerosis

STAMFORD, Conn. — When he was 10 years old Max Eber set out to educate his classmates on a very grown-up lesson: Not all dads can play catch with their kids. Not all dads can carry their children.

The flyers Max passed around school that year enumerated these and other ways that his father's multiple sclerosis (MS) affected his life. It was also Max's method for recruiting people to in his Travelers Walk MS team, Team Eber.

More than 6,000 Connecticut residents — like Max’s father, David — live with multiple sclerosis, a chronic and often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms can include numbness in the limbs, stiffness and, in some more severe cases, total paralysis.

Not only have the children at Bi-Cultural Day School in Stamford, Conn., supported Max's efforts, one friend even made participating in the Travelers Walk MS event a prerequisite for coming to his birthday party.

“One kid has a sleepover party for his birthday, and he has the best parties ever,” explained Max, now 12. “His birthday was the same day as the walk last year, so he said you couldn't come to his sleepover unless you came to the walk the next day, too.”

Max, who lives in Stamford, and Team Eber will step out at Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk Sunday, May 4, for this year’s Travelers Walk MS. The event also takes place at 11 other sites across the state. Check-in and registration begin at 8 a.m., and participants step out at 9 a.m. Last year 1,416 Westport and Norwalk participants helped raise $248,000. Max’s school-wide awareness campaign helped put Team Eber among the top three teams of fundraisers last year. Other top teams last year included The Walkie Talkies and Sacred Hearts for Hope.

This year’s goal is for at least 1,500 walkers to participate in the hopes of raising $276,000.

When Max wrote the letter to his classmates explaining the things his father could no longer do, he put into words how multiple sclerosis affects the day-to-day lives of people living with this baffling disease, said one of the Travelers Walk MS event coordinators.

“Max has done a wonderful job of explaining exactly why we hold the walk every year. MS stops people from moving; events like Travelers Walk MS help us make sure it doesn't,” said Ruth Abend, development coordinator in charge of the Norwalk Walk MS site.

For Max and the rest of his family — his mom, Ellen, sisters Erica, 18, and Laura, 16 — every person who steps for Team Eber and the other Walk MS teams means they one step closer to a cure.

“When someone has someone in their family with MS it makes everything more complicated,” said Max. “When people donate money to help find a cure or participate, their support helps make families stronger.”

The National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter expects the 2008 Travelers Walk MS to raise more than $1.5 million state-wide. Additional partners stepping out in support include Acorda and Serono. Lunch is provided compliments of Subway and Coca-Cola. For more information or to register, please go to or call 860-714 WALK. To learn more, listen to 96.5 TIC, 95.9 The FOX and 97.7 WCTY Country Favorites or watch WTNH News Channel 8 and My TV 9.


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