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MS Society chosen as PA2016 class charity

Students in the Winston-Salem-based PA Class of 2016 voted the Multiple Sclerosis Society as the most fitting charity to support during their time at Wake Forest. Class member Kelly Conner has personally experienced how a diagnosis of MS can change lives. Her husband learned he had the disease on their third wedding anniversary.

“MS is as individualized as the people who have it,” Kelly explained. “Some people, those with the relapse-remitting form, never know from one day to the next what their physical abilities will be. One day they appear completely fine, and the next day they wake up and can't see for a week. They don't know how much function will return when the flare subsides. Others, like my husband, have a more constantly progressing form.”

Multiple sclerosis involves an immune-mediated process in which an abnormal response of the body’s immune system is directed against the central nervous system. The exact antigen – the target the immune cells are sensitized to attack – remains unknown. The MS Society works to raise funds for research into both the cause of MS and potential cures.

One of the Society’s biggest annual nationwide fundraisers is the MS Ride for a Cure bike race. PA2016 classmates Cameron Sweeney and Jana Villanueva rode in the Bike MS Tour to Tanglewood 2014 in early October. “It was a humbling, inspiring experience to ride for and beside hundreds of people whose lives are affected by MS. And, of course, Kelly’s family was on my mind every mile,” Jana shared.

PA2016 students at Bike MS 2014

Cameron Sweeney and Jana Villanueva at the Bike MS Tour to Tanglewood 2014

Kelly’s positive attitude has challenged the entire PA2016 class to spread awareness about MS and to show support however they can. “MS has changed our lives, and not all bad either.” Kelly shared. “We have learned a lot about how strong we can be together. We have two beautiful little boys now, and I have found new partners in our fight. My classmates chose the Multiple Sclerosis Society as their charity. Already, they have participated in the Tour to Tanglewood and other fundraising events. I am humbled and greatly appreciate the support of my classmates who are standing alongside my family and all those who are touched by this disease.” [written by Jana Villanueva, Class of 2016]



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