A group of college students raising more than $2,000 for those with multiple sclerosis in itself is an impressive statement.
But for Josh Roper, team captain of “Strides for Hope: UW–Platteville Residence Life,” the dollars aren’t the biggest reason the walk is important.
“I made it clear that while donating money to the National MS Society is near and dear to my heart, I really wanted to make a statement by getting involvement and attendance from students,” he says.
Josh, Emilie and Benjamin Roper participate in memory of their mother, who died in 2009 from complications of her MS.
“She always had a passion for helping everyone in any way possible,” said Josh. “She had a heart of gold and did everything she could to raise her children while she remained at home until the MS did not allow her to.”
Roper added she was proud of her German heritage, and had a sweet tooth for Gummy Bears and Gummy Worms.
“She was everything I could’ve asked for from a mother, and it was a tragedy that she had to be taken from my family’s life so soon,” he said. “Obviously raising money to search for a cure is an essential part of this walk, but for this year and for the team I was more concerned about showcasing the importance of spreading awareness of the walk and multiple sclerosis.”
The Roper siblings and their friends worked to grow their team. Josh created a Facebook event, invited all of his friends from UW–Platteville, and asked them to add their friends to spread the word about Walk MS. In total, more than 800 people learned about the walk and 34 registered for the team — most of them fellow students.
Of the $2,082 the team raised, $1,352 came through Josh Roper’s efforts. He approached his resident director at UW–Platteville and asked whether the proceeds from the annual Morrow Hall Service Auction could be donated this year to the walk. He then presented the plan to his fellow Morrow Hall RAs and staff members.
“The decision was unanimous,” said Roper, who is attending UW–Platteville with a National MS Society Ladish Foundation scholarship and was named one of the society’s Top Scholars in 2013. “The auction this year raised the $1,352 that shows up with my name next to it; however, that is a joint donation from everyone who helped with the Morrow Hall Service Auction and everyone who bid on items at the event.”
Roper is a senior majoring in mechanical engineering. “I am striving to make the most of my college experience while also giving credit to those who have helped me on every step of my journey,” he said. “Without assistance along the way, I would not be the individual who I am today.”
Walk MS donations are still being accepted through Sept. 25.