RBC Royal Bank came through in a major way Thursday making a $1,000 donation to the MS Society of Canada at the A&W in Tillsonburg.
“At RBC, when you have employees coming together on their own time for a cause, RBC will donate $1,000 to that cause,” said Tillsonburg’s Orlene Newman, a RBC employee. “My mom has MS (diagnosed in 1985) and that’s why I was very passionate about getting this crew together.”
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Newman and a team of local RBC employees presented the $1,000 cheque to Mike Phillips, chairman of the council for the Oxford-Perth Chapter of the MS Society of Canada.
On August 22, A&W Food Services of Canada celebrated its 11th annual Burgers to Beat MS campaign to raise awareness and funds to help those living with multiple sclerosis (MS). On Thursday, $2 from every A&W Teen Burger across Canada sold was donated to the MS Society of Canada, adding to the more than $13 million raised through the first 10 years of the campaign to fund MS research, programs, services and advocacy efforts.
In addition to the donation from the sale of Teen Burgers, A&W Tillsonburg also hosted a silent auction.
“Burgers to Beat MS is one of the major (MS) fundraisers – the partnership with A&W – across Canada,” said Phillips. “It’s a national program and it’s well-received. It’s been growing each year, in all avenues of it, in donations, proceeds and the number of volunteers that are involved. To me, that’s the key, the number of people that volunteer and come out, just like this lady here, Jayne (Gibson). She makes the signs and brings out friends. She’s been out here since 4-5 p.m. waving everybody in.”
“I show up for my family,” said Gibson. “I have a sister with MS, and two of my sisters do the 40 km Bike for MS in Niagara Falls (Sunday, August 18). I also have a brother with MS, and his crew does the MS Walk in Kitchener. I may not be physically able to do the Bike or the Walk, but I am their proudest cheerleader.”
Gibson, who was joined by many other enthusiastic cheerleaders waving ‘End MS’ signs and making noise on Broadway, noted that 697 Teen Burgers were sold in Tillsonburg Thursday, up from 548 in 2018.
“Please give a huge shoutout to Tillsonburg for donating to MS research,” said Gibson. “THANK YOU on behalf of the 75,000-plus Canadians living with MS who are waiting and hoping and praying to say, ‘I used to have MS.'”
Each community large or small helps make a difference, said Phillips, including Tillsonburg, Ingersoll and Woodstock in Oxford County.
“It doesn’t matter whether it’s a large city or a small town, there are people affected by MS,” said Phillips. “There’s somebody in their family or a friend… it’s hard to meet someone who has not been influenced by the whole thing. The other part of MS is that 80 per cent of people with MS are female.”
Last year nearly $2 million was raised through the annual Burgers to Beat MS campaign.
“When you do the math, that’s a lot of Teen Burgers across Canada,” Phillips smiled, noting that $30-35,000 had been raised in the Oxford-Perth region last year. “They (A&W) are troopers when it comes to the partnership here.”
Over the course of the year, the MS Society of Canada also receives funds from events like MS walks, bike rides, and galas.
“There’s a lot of small, local organizations and groups that support MS,” said Phillips. “And then there are provincial and national ones, too. It’s quite a partnership and there’s a lot of teams that makes this (fundraising) a success, and the volunteers are certainly a significant part of it.”