Staunch is the captain of Carol's Iron Eagles, who will be walking in this year's Walk MS in Liberty State Park on April 13.
Last year, Carol's Eagles of Bayonne consisted of over 100 walkers who raised $20,003 in their second year participating in the event. In total, Carol's Iron Eagles has raised $37,005. They are hoping to raise more this year.
Walk MS is the premiere fundraising event of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The event, which is held in all 50 states and attracts over 250,000 participants, raises millions of dollars for MS research and programs each year. Last year, more than 4,900 walked in seven locations in northern New Jersey, raising more than $1.2 million.
Carol's Iron Eagles started three years ago as a living tribute to Carol Staunch, a Bayonne resident who passed away after a 25-year battle with MS. The team consists of many of Carol's friends and family.
"I have faith that my mother is in a better place, but there are still countless people battling this unpredictable disease on a daily basis," Staunch said. "MS research is becoming more hopeful, but there is still no cure. This disease does not discriminate. Anyone can get it. This is why I want Carol's Iron Eagles to remain in existence until a cure is found."
Earlier in March, Staunch, who serves as a fundraising manager for the MS Society, came to St. Andrews' School in Bayonne to talk about the walk and the disease.
He, his mother and his daughter all attended the school, so in some ways, he said he felt as if he was talking to friends and family.
"I came for two reasons," he said during a telephone interview. "I wanted to educate students about MS, but I always wanted to talk to kids about helping other people." Using a slide presentation, he talked about the impact of the disease and how kids can make a difference by helping others.
Every year, 400,000 people are diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, and right here in North Jersey, 5,000 are living with the disease. Despite the prevalence of MS, it remains a disease surrounded by myths and misunderstanding. The week of March 10 to the 17 is MS Awareness Week this year, and that's why the North Jersey Chapter of the MS Society is reaching out to local schools to educate children on this disease and to dispel some myths about MS.
Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic, often progressive and disabling disease of the central nervous system, believed to result from immune system dysfunction. Multiple Sclerosis is devastating because it affects individuals in the prime of their lives, with symptoms that come and go without warning. MS manifestations, which are highly individual, can include abnormal fatigue, impaired vision, loss of balance and muscle coordination, tremors, stiffness, difficulties with speech or walking, and in severe cases, partial or complete paralysis.
The 2008 Walk MS will be held on Sunday, April 13. The event will once again be held in 7seven locations across northern New Jersey, with Liberty State Park hosting the Hudson County location. The Greater North Jersey MS Society is hoping to have another record-breaking year, as they aim to raise a minimum of $1.3 million in the fight against MS.
Carol's Iron Eagles is currently looking for more teammates to join. You don't have to walk on April 13, just raise money and awareness.
Local businesses can give tax-deductible product donations, which could be used for the kick-off and post-walk parties, raffle prizes, for the purchase of team t-shirts, and other things.
For more information about the team and/or to register, you can visit their homepage at the Greater North Jersey Walk MS Web site at www.walknjb.nationalmssociety.org.
Click on the "Team List" link, and then click on the "Carol's Iron Eagles" link in the team list. You can also visit their MySpace page at www.myspace.com/carolsironeagles, or you can directly call or e-mail Team Captain Jonathan Staunch at (201) 463-4114, firstname.lastname@example.org.