SAMS raises money for Multiple Sclerosis

By Christine Ader

Increasing the awareness of Multiple Sclerosis and raising money for research are the major goals of NIU’s Students Against Multiple Sclerosis.

SAMS is the college chapter of the national Multiple Sclerosis organization which has more than 200 campuses involved in raising money for Multiple Sclerosis.

The organization also provides services for people who have or are affected by MS, and work to educate the public about MS. More than half of the funds raised at NIU are used for local Chicago MS groups, including a support group located in DeKalb.

“We really want students to be aware that MS can happen to anyone. After joining SAMS, I found a more personal interest in it when I discovered that I have friends who have MS, who I didn’t know had it before I joined SAMS,” Cathy Raidna, treasurer of SAMS, said.

The organization began last year as an NIU pilot program when members of the national chapter approached NIU’s Student Association and asked them if they were interested in starting a chapter. It is no longer a pilot program and currently has over 60 members, Peggy Keslin, campus chairman said.

Keslin believes the group helps to unify many different student organizations because many of SAMS‘ activities are tied in with different student groups’ activities. For example, the organization will co-sponsor a cash bar night with Pi Sigma Epsilon, an NIU business fraternity.

February and March are the big campaign months for SAMS, with the majority of its fundraising and awareness activities scheduled throughout the two months. A campus awareness day, a balloon launch, an educational program and a cookie dough sale have already been held with great success, Keslin said.

The cookie dough sale raised over $185. In addition, sweatshirts are now being sold, a lip sync demonstration will be held Feb. 25 and a Rock-Alike contest will be held on March 3.

The Rock-Alike contestants will dress up as a rock star and lip sync. The winner in the Rock-Alike contest will advance to districts, competing to appear on an MTV spot. The entry fee is $30 and the admission fee is $3.00.

A person simply needs to support the organization in order to become a member, according to Keslin. In fact, she said a person does not even need to be a student. No membership fees or attendance at meetings are required.

“We really need a lot of people who are willing to help and educate others about MS,” Pam Karp, vice chairperson, said.