MU students volunteer to help people with Multiple Sclerosis

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COLUMBIA - The MU student-run organization Rockin' Against Multiple Sclerosis started its annual fundraising events on Feb. 9 to raise money and provide services for the MS Institute of mid-Missouri.

RAMS is hosting a service day, a comedy night, bowling tournament, 5K, and other events between Feb. 9 to Feb. 20. 

While the events are light-hearted, it’s all done to help people like Kim Williams. 

Williams was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis in August 2011.

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease damaging the central nervous system, like the brain, optic nerves or spinal cord. It can cause blindness, paralysis, extreme fatigue, memory problems and more.

Williams experiences weakness and spasms in her legs when she gets tired or over-heated—both common symptoms of MS, so RAMS volunteers have gone to Williamses’ house to help with chores and other activities for the last seven years.

On service day Saturday, RAMS volunteers were spread across Boone County, helping Williams and other MS Institute clients.

“When they come on service day, they’re happy and excited,” Williams said. “Everyone works with joy, and it makes me feel so good to be given that gift.” 

The MS Institute has provided Williams a shower chair, a stairwell lift, cooling apparatuses and more.

Without the stairwell lift addition, Williams would have been forced to move out of her home. Some days she is too weak to get up and down the stairs. 

The money RAMS raises helps the institute provide funds and resources to people diagnosed with MS across mid-Missouri.

Last year, the organization raised $92,000 and hopes to donate $100,000 this year.

RAMS created a new community engagement committee to involve the community and meet its higher fundraising goal. 

“They were brain storming how can we raise more than last year," RAMS director Erica Timmerman said. "How can we do this? So they decided it was time to get out and really have a focus on the Columbia community.”

Also new this year, RAMS is bringing in one of Missouri’s own comedians Greg Warren. He’s been on Comedy Central and Late Night with Seth Myers, and is scheduled to do a show on Feb. 12.

People can find more information about upcoming RAMS events on the organization's website.