College students across UON recently united with UON Wake Up! to fundraise for the May 50K. Charlotte Lloyd explores more about the cause and partnership.
Throughout May the University of Newcastle’s global health group ‘Wake Up!’ took part in the May 50K. This initiative, run by ‘Kiss Goodbye to MS’, is about hope. As a collective, the funds raised go towards accelerating life-changing research into multiple sclerosis. Research is the key to changing the future of MS. There are over 25,600 Australians and 2.3 million people worldwide living with MS and as a global health group, ‘Wake Up!’ is passionate to do what they can to help leave MS where it belongs: behind us.
‘Kiss Goodbye to MS’ began in 2012 as an awareness initiative, which quickly developed into a ‘do it yourself’ style fundraising campaign. Since then, the MS community has raised close to $5 million for research. From then, 2016 was a big year, as this was when ‘Kiss Goodbye to MS’ went global. They are now the biggest global community raising funds for MS in 13 countries worldwide. In 2019, the May 50k started. This, by running or walking 50kms throughout the month of May, tests not only your individual limits but supports the future for people living with MS. The May 50k alone has raised $2.1 million – what a great and very active way to kick off the month. In 2020, the goal still remains the same, striving to make a change for those affected by MS, and this time our very own UON students haven taken on the challenge.
The May 50k allows you to be registered as an individual, a social team, or a workplace team. This meant that our global health group ‘Wake Up!’ involved UON in becoming the change that is needed. Their team’s Facebook page has recruited colleges from across the university to run or walk their way to leave MS behind. Some of these colleges included; International House and East Tower. East Tower Residential Mentor and member of UON ‘Wake Up!’ Ellie Dickin, with the help and input of college Charity Officer Maggie Fulwood, started a college team at the start of May. With the pandemic affecting almost every aspect of our lives, one way to stay mentally and emotionally well is to make sure we are keeping active and getting some sunshine while we do it. The May 50k seemed like, for East Tower, one way to keep everyone connected while people moved back home. College members were – and still are – spread across the county, and while they may not all be in the same place, Ellie noted that,
“Particularly during COVID-19 I think it was a great way to bring people together and encourage physical activity, whilst also contributing to greater change and a cause bigger than ourselves.”
Throughout the month, a total of $8,276 was raised with UON’s ‘Wake Up!’ group and they placed 42nd out of 3,193 fundraising teams. Within East Tower, there were 14 people undertaking the May 50k, and this included not only current residents of the college but also past residents wanting to help their former college contribute to the cause. There was also a good mix of freshman and returning students doing the challenge, and while not all made it to the 50k, the funds raised still count towards helping the MS community in imperative research. As an avid runner herself and the initiator of taking on the challenge, Ellie describes her love for running and doing it for such a good cause. She said:
“I really enjoyed the challenge, it motivated me to get out and do some amazing walks along Newcastle’s lovely coastline… I’m so proud of the Wake Up! team for their enthusiasm and involvement.”
This is just one example of how teams have joined together to raise money for a cause that affects copious amounts of people not only in Australia but globally. MS is a disease that currently has no cure and the treatment options available are limited. By undertaking this challenge, you not only come to understand MS and its effects, but the money that is raised allows doctors and researchers to continue their studies and invest in resources that are imperative for progress. So whether you took part or missed out this year, there’s still time to make a difference. The UON ‘Wake Up!’ page is still open for donations, or if you want to contribute directly, you can jump on the ‘Kiss Goodbye to MS,’ website. And remember, there is always next year!
Feature Image by Madelyn Gardiner, Yak Media Designer